Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)
Energy giant BP’s profits double to $27.7 billion
British energy firm BP reported record annual earnings Tuesday, fueling demands that the United King government boost taxes for companies benefiting from the high price of oil and natural gas after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
London-based BP said underlying replacement cost profit, which excludes one-time items and fluctuations in the value of inventories, jumped to $27.7 billion in 2022 from $12.8 billion a year earlier. That beat the $26.8 billion BP earned in 2008, when tensions in Iran and Nigeria pushed world oil prices to a record of more than $147 a barrel.
BP also increased its quarterly dividend by 10% and announced plans to buy back an additional $2.75 billion of stock from shareholders.
But the good news for BP shareholders is likely to be tempered by the public fallout, particularly in its home country. High oil and gas prices have hit Britain hard, with double-digit inflation fueling a wave of publicsector strikes, soaring food bank use and demands that politicians expand a tax on the windfall profits of energy companies to help pay for public services.
Ed Miliband, the opposition Labour Party’s spokesman on climate issues, called on the U.K. government to bring forward a “proper” windfall tax on energy companies.
“It’s yet another day of enormous profits at an energy giant, the windfalls of war, coming out of the pockets of the British people,” Miliband said.
Similar censure was directed at London-based Shell last week, when it said annual earnings doubled to a record $39.9 billion last year.
Bumper profits for energy companies worldwide have sparked demands that the fossil-fuel industry do more to offset high energy bills even as they cut climate-damaging carbon emissions. U.S.-based Exxon Mobil posted record earnings of $55.7 billion last week.
Last year, Britain approved a 25% windfall tax on earnings from oil and gas produced in the U.K., with the levy increasing to 35% in 2023. Opposition leaders have criticized the government for allowing energy companies to reduce the tax by investing in the U.K.
BP said it took a charge of more than $1.8 billion last year to cover the new U.K. tax.
The company also took charges of $25.5 billion as the result of its decision to exit its investments in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.
After including one-time items and fluctuations in the value of inventories, BP posted a net loss of $2.49 billion for 2022, compared with net income of $7.57 billion the previous year.
BP on Tuesday said it would boost investment in renewable energy, hydrogen and electric vehicle charging as well as its oil and gas businesses, plowing an additional $8 billion into the two segments through 2030.
The investments will push oil and gas production to about 2 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2030. While the new target is 25% lower than in 2019, BP previously planned to cut production by 40%. +1.80