Oil giants must stop ham­mer­ing driv­ers

Daily Express - - NEWS -

and Chan­cel­lor Alis­tair Dar­ling added his voice to the cho­rus of de­mands for a big re­duc­tion at the pumps as the oil price drops.

“I want oil com­pa­nies to pass on re­duc­tions as soon as pos­si­ble be­cause peo­ple are en­ti­tled to see the ben­e­fits,” he said.

Tory front­bencher Philip Ham­mond, the Shadow Chief Sec­re­tary to the Trea­sury, also backed the Daily Ex­press cru­sade.

He said: “Much of this profit has been made on the back of sky-high oil prices. Now that prices have come down, oil com­pa­nies must pass on the re­duced cost to cus­tomers.”

Shell’s £6.6bil­lion quar­terly profit out­stripped even ri­val BP. The mas­sive fig­ure was equiv­a­lent to £50,000 a minute.

It was squeezed out of mo­torists at the peak of the record oil price surge when it reached more than 147 US dol­lars a bar­rel in the sum­mer.

Now it is back to around 70 dol­lars a bar­rel – and motoring ex­perts are con­vinced oil firms will have to heed the grow­ing out­cry led by the Daily Ex­press.

John Franklin, of the RAC, said: “We fully sup­port the Daily Ex­press cru­sade. We have seen ex­ces­sive petrol prices over the last year.

“While prices have come down, which is wel­come, that has largely been on the ini­tia­tive of su­per­mar­kets. It’s about time oil com­pa­nies made a con­tri­bu­tion.”

Anger

Mr Franklin ex­pected oil prof­its to slump in the next quar­ter as com­pa­nies are pres­sured into cut­ting prices.

“Mo­torists feel they are be­ing used just to make more prof­its for oil com­pa­nies. They should be en­ti­tled to see falls in prices at the pumps,” he added.

As anger in­ten­si­fied, more se­nior politi­cians and pres­sure groups threw their sup­port be­hind our cru­sade.

Kate Gibb, of the Road Haulage As­so­ci­a­tion, said: “Shell’s prof­its are scan­dalous and in­iq­ui­tous. This is why we sup­port the Daily Ex­press cru­sade.”

Lib Dem Trea­sury spokesman Vince Ca­ble, a for­mer Shell econ­o­mist, also backed the Daily Ex­press.

He said: “There is no rea­son to take so much money from the pock­ets of road users. The re­cent spike in oil prices has led to a jump in prof­its for the big oil com­pa­nies.

“They must pass on price cuts as oil prices con­tinue to fall, which will be of some re­lief to the many fam­i­lies strug­gling with sky-high en­ergy bills.

“It is im­por­tant that Shell, BP and the other com­pa­nies live up to their prom­ises and in­vest th­ese enor­mous prof­its into re­new­able forms of en­ergy. Th­ese will be cru­cial as oil be­gins to run out.”

Ear­lier this week, BP faced out­rage af­ter it an­nounced third-quar­ter prof­its of £6.4bil­lion – a 148 per cent in­crease on last year’s fig­ure. Be­tween them, Shell and BP have now posted prof­its of £13bil­lion this week.

Shell’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Jeroen van der Veer, de­scribed the re­sults as “sat­is­fac­tory”.

He said: “We de­liv­ered sat­is­fac­tory earn­ings and op­er­at­ing per­for­mance in the third quar­ter of 2008. We are watch­ing the world eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion closely.

“Our strat­egy re­mains to pay com­pet­i­tive and pro­gres­sive div­i­dends, and to make sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments in the com­pany for fu­ture prof­itabil­ity.” But union leader Tony Wood­ley, of Unite, de­scribed the prof­its as “ob­scene” and branded Shell “greedy”.

He said: “Shell share­hold­ers are do­ing very nicely while the rest of us, the stake­hold­ers, are pay­ing the price and strug­gling.

“Cu­mu­la­tive oil in­dus­try prof­its in ex­cess of £50bil­lion in the last three years are ob­scene.

“It is time the Gov­ern­ment acted,” he added, call­ing for a wind­fall tax. “The oil com­pa­nies can main­tain in­vest­ment pro­grammes, pay nor­mal taxes, main­tain good re­turns to share­hold­ers but still put their hands in their trea­sure ch­ests,” he said.

US oil gi­ant Exxon Mo­bil last night an­nounced prof­its of £8.9bil­lion for July to Septem­ber.

It smashed the firm’s own record for the high­est quar­terly profit by a US com­pany and was a 58 per cent rise on the same pe­riod last year.

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