As Shell posted third-quarter profits of $9.5 billion, its CEO, Ben van Beurden, said that it was ready to embrace higher taxes. He pointed out that with companies like Shell benefitting from high oil and gas prices, it was a “societal reality” that governments would be looking to them to help fund initiatives aimed at assisting vulnerable customers to pay their energy bills.
The third-quarter profits are the second highest in the company’s history, with the previous quarter’s profits of $11.5 billion being the highest. Shell’s reported earnings so far this year have exceeded $30 billion, and it looks almost certain to exceed its current record for annual profits, which was $31 billion in 2008.
With profits being generally high in the sector, van Beurden said:
“We should be prepared and accept that also our industry will be looked at for raising taxes in order to fund the transfers to those who need it most in these very difficult times. We have to embrace it.”
Shell is, of course, a global company with a range of businesses, including the production of advanced lubricants like the Shell Corena range of compressor oil. In the UK, its costs for decommissioning depleted fields and investment in new projects exceeded the profits from its retail and upstream businesses, so it paid no tax to the UK Government last quarter. It expects to pay further taxes under the additional 25% energy profits levy that was introduced in May, but not until early in 2023.