UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls the record profits that major oil and gas companies are making 'immoral'.
Oil and gas companies ExxonMobile, Chevron, Shell and TotalEnergies have made huge gains in the past quarter due to the soaring energy prices from the war in Ukraine. The four oil companies in total earned $51 billion in three months, about twice as much as a year earlier.
In Europe, the oil industry profited with €3.3 billion in extra funds in April. Greenpeace research showed that the oil companies in Europe gained an average of €107 million extra in daily revenues from ramped-up prices – €94 million from the sale of diesel, and €13 million from petrol, even as consumers across Europe were hit by unprecedented price hikes at the petrol pump.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called it "immoral" that the companies are making record profits "on the backs of the poorest people and communities and at the expense of the climate" at a press conference following the publication of a third UN report on the global consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Guterres urged governments "to tax these excessive profits and use the resources to support the most vulnerable in these difficult times... I call on all people to send a clear message to the fossil fuel industry and its backers that their outrageous greed is punishing the poorest and most vulnerable and destroying our only common home, the planet."
On a similar note, Greenpeace climate campaigner Klara Maria Schenk called on European governments to tax these 'immortal profits'.
"While millions of Europeans struggle with sky-high fuel and energy costs, the oil industry is driving up prices to reel in record profits on the back of the war and the ongoing energy crisis. The increase of crude oil prices doesn’t justify price hikes along the supply chain and at the pump."
Exxon CEO Darren Woods commented that in 2020, during the pandemic, the energy sector lost billions of dollars as oil prices plummeted and the company is now making investments to beef up production. Chevron counterpart, Mike Wirth, made similar comments.
US companies have been criticised by US President Joe Biden for doing too little do deal with the high fuel prices at the pump, accusing them of making billions in profit at the expense of consumers.