Oil Giant's Profit Soars to $11.5 Billion Amid High Energy Prices

Oil Giant's Profit Soars to $11.5 Billion Amid High Energy Prices
The Shell petrol station in Milton Keynes, Britain, on Jan. 5, 2022. (Andrew Boyers/Reuters)
Katabella Roberts

Oil giant Shell posted profit on July 28 of more than $11 billion between April and June amid soaring energy prices, topping its record-breaking results from the first quarter.

The London-based company's earnings come as households across the UK struggle with the rising cost of living and are prepared for yet another surge in energy bills after Russia cut further gas flows to Europe.

Shell stated that it had managed a strong performance in a "turbulent economic environment" and reported that adjusted earnings were $11.5 billion for the second quarter.

That's up from its previous record quarterly profit of $9.2 billion in earnings from January to March and an increase from the $5.5 billion posted in the April-to-June period of 2021.

Amid its rising profits, the oil company announced a share-buyback program of $6 billion, which it expects to be completed by the announcement of third-quarter results later this year. That continues a buyback program that amounted to $8.5 billion in the first half of the year.

Shell didn't raise its dividend of 25 cents per share but said that with the $6 billion share-buyback plan, total distributions to shareholders would be "significantly in excess" of 30 percent of cash flow from operations.

"In the first half of 2022, shareholder distributions have doubled from those in the first half of 2013, a decade ago, when Brent prices were similar, with increased discipline, integrated value delivery, and improved resilience driving better results," the company stated.

Cash flow from operations soared to $18.7 billion in the second quarter from $3.8 billion in the first quarter of this year, which the company said was driven by "higher adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and lower working capital outflows."

'Strategy Delivering Strong Results for Shareholders'

EBITDA was $23.1 billion, compared with $19 billion in the year-ago period.

"With volatile energy markets and the ongoing need for action to tackle climate change, 2022 continues to present huge challenges for consumers, governments, and companies alike. Consequently, we are using our financial strength to invest in secure energy supplies which the world needs today, taking real, bold steps to cut carbon emissions, and transforming our company for a low-carbon energy future," the company said.

"Crucially, our Powering Progress strategy is delivering strong results for our shareholders on the back of years of portfolio high grading, combined with robust operational performance."

Its shares rose 0.31 percent in UK trading on July 28.

Shell's mega-profits come as families across the UK are gearing up to pay an extra 500 pounds ($606) per month after Russian state-majority owned energy firm Gazprom slashed flows through its Nord Stream 1 pipeline this week to about 20 percent of its capacity, citing repair work that needs to be done.

Gazprom had only recently resumed gas shipments (on July 21) via the pipeline, through which Russian natural gas flows to Europe through Germany, following a planned 10-day shutdown for maintenance.

Experts are now warning that October's price cap—the maximum that utility companies can charge customers—could hit 3,420 pounds ($4,144), with those prices expected to jump to as high as 3,850 pounds ($4,665) in January 2023.

Energy-focused management consultancy BFY stated that this could see the average UK customer "facing a bill of 500 [pounds] in January alone."

"Huge swaths of the British public aren’t going to be able to afford their bills this winter," BFY senior consultant Gemma Berwick stated. "Average families with two working parents will be in fuel poverty."
Reuters contributed to this report.
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