August 15, 2022

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$8.5 billion profit for BP as prices rise during the Russo-Ukrainian war

$8.5 billion profit for BP as prices rise during the Russo-Ukrainian war

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LONDON (Reuters) – BP reported $8.5 billion in second-quarter profit on Tuesday, its biggest unexpected gain in 14 years, making it the latest oil giant to benefit from higher crude prices as the Russian war crippled Ukraine is in turmoil in global energy markets.

Just days ago, the two largest American oil companies – ExxonMobil and Chevron – reported that their profits nearly tripled in the second quarter, while London’s Shell and France’s Total Energy also announced amazing results. Total profits for those five companies in the second quarter are now more than $55 billion, which is a stunning turnaround from the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sudden gains come Consumers around the world are feeling the sting of the highest inflation in decades and the especially dire cost of living crisis at the gas pump. The price of crude oil rose above $120 a barrel in March and again in June before falling again, still 34 percent higher than last year. Average US national gas price jumped side by side, to over $5 a gallon for the first time, AAA mentionedalthough the prices are now lower.

President Biden warned the industry that he is considering all options to limit its profits if gas prices remain high. The president and other Democrats have been consistently criticizing the oil industry’s profits at a time when drivers struggle to cover the cost of filling a fill.

While Biden’s tools are limited — there isn’t enough support from Congress to move forward with his plan to introduce a windfall dividend tax — that could change if he declares a “climate emergency,” as the administration has said is possible. Energy analysts predict that if gas prices start to rise again, Biden may use his presidential powers to assert more government control over domestic oil and gas producers.

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Oil executives have retracted criticism from the Biden administration, saying the only way to correct the imbalance between supply and demand in global oil markets is to pump more oil.

“I want to make it clear that Chevron shares your concerns about the high prices that Americans are experiencing,” Chevron CEO Mike Wirth told Biden. open letter. “And I assure you, Chevron is doing its part to help meet these challenges by increasing capital expenditures to $18 billion in 2022, more than 50% more than last year.”

Analysts also point out that the oil market is intensely cyclical. The industry struggled during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, again between 2014 and 2016, and most recently during the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic, Pavel Molchanov of Raymond James investment bank said.

“The industry is currently enjoying record levels of profitability, but two years ago the collapse of coronavirus-related commodities was an epic disaster,” Molchanov said in an email.

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In a report, the company said BP’s second-quarter results, up from $6.2 billion in the first quarter, were driven by strong refining margins, “continued exceptional oil trading performance,” and higher fuel prices. statement. The increase in global demand and the war in Ukraine were major factors in the price hike, which directly increased the company’s profits.

“Today’s results show that BP continues to perform during the transition,” Bernard Looney, chief executive of Looney, said in a statement. “We do this by providing the oil and gas the world needs today – and at the same time, investing to accelerate the energy transition.”

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As a result of the higher earnings, the company said it would boost its dividend by 10 percent, to 6,006 cents per common share, more than it had previously expected. “This increase reflects the underlying performance and cash generation of the business,” the company said.

BP, formerly known as BP, said it expects oil and gas prices to remain elevated in the third quarter “due to the ongoing disruption to Russian supplies” and “low levels of spare capacity”. The geopolitical outlook has also led to shortfalls in European gas supplies that are “too dependent on Russian pipeline flows,” which is expected to keep prices high.

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Shell announced larger share buybacks totaling $6 billion, while Exxon said it distributed $7.6 billion to shareholders when earnings are included.

Patrick de Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said major oil companies appear to be investing in increasing their supply. But he said that in the short term, their focus appears to be on shareholder value.

Exxon and Chevron make huge profits on the back of the oil price boom

Biden accused the giant American oil companies of taking advantage of the difficult circumstances. speak At the Port of Los Angeles in June, he said, “Exxon made more money than God this year.” the company declined, warning management for its attempts to “criticize, and at times discredit our industry”. Oil companies deny accusations that their policies keep prices artificially high.

In May, the British government announced 25 percent unexpected tax On the profits of oil and gas companies – revenue that will be used to help low-income families struggling with Sharp rise in cost of living. we legislators I considered a similar tax, but it is unlikely to pass in the evenly divided Senate.

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British legislator and opposition finance minister Rachel Reeves has criticized BP’s profits, Twitter: “People are worried about energy prices going up again in the fall, but again we’re seeing amazing profits for oil and gas producers.”

Left-wing politicians and advocacy groups in both the United States and Britain have called for additional taxes on oil companies’ windfall profits.

Greenpeace UK chirp“There is something particularly outrageous and cruel about gas companies like Shell and BP that are making record profits as consumers struggle to keep warm this winter.”

Representative Rosa El Delauro (Democrat) wrote on Twitter: Corporate monopolies amplify their market power, hurting families at the pumps and driving up inflation. … Americans don’t deserve to be manipulated at the pump.”