the pharaonic quarterly profits of the five oil majors

After TotalEnergies, Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron, it was BP’s turn to publish its quarterly results on Tuesday August 2. Like its competitors, the British oil company saw its profits rise as the price of hydrocarbons. In the second quarter of the year, the British giant thus published a net profit that tripled in a year to 9.26 billion dollars.

On the other hand, in the first six months of the year, BP It posted a net loss of $11.13 billion, as the group incurred an after-tax charge of $24.4 billion in the first quarter following its exit from Russia’s Rosneft, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Collectively, the five largest companies in the sector earned $62.46 billion in revenue over the past three months. (In ascending order: TotalEnergies 5.7 billion, BP 9.26 billion, Chevron 11.6 billion, ExxonMobil 17.9 billion and Shell 18 billion). For comparison, this is more or less equal to the GDP of Bulgaria in 2020.

Rising hydrocarbons

During the second quarter of the year, a barrel of black gold quoted in New York was sold between approximately 95 and 120 dollars. The increase in more than a year due to the revival of demand from businesses and households after the pandemic, it was driven to a level not seen since 2008 last spring, after the sanctions imposed by Russia after it invaded the Ukraine on February 24.

Gas, for its part, surged again because Russia gradually reduced its deliveries to Twenty-Seven. The war in Ukraine has indeed caused serious energy tensions between the West and Moscow, which is using gas as a geopolitical weapon and making its natural gas supplies weaker and more insecure, when they are not fully to be cut off like Poland. , Bulgaria or Latvia since last Saturday.

This rise in energy prices has contributed greatly to inflation, the highest in several decades in the Old Continent and the United States.

In the United States, Joe Biden attacked the mayors

Across the Atlantic, the US government has often criticized companies in the sector for enriching themselves on the backs of motorists instead of investing in production.

In June, during a speech on inflation, President Joe Biden directly criticized the oil giant ExxonMobil for not pumping more oil, which would lower the price, with the simple goal of increasing its price. In a mocking tone, he suggested that ExxonMobil go “Make more money than God” in the second trimester.

For their part, ExxonMobil and Chevron claim they are trying. The first argues in particular that its refining capacity will be higher by about 250,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of 2023, “represents the largest US capacity addition in the industry since 2012”said its CEO Darren Woods in a press release.

The two American majors did not take advantage of this new financial windfall to increase their investment spending. The level of the latter remains lower than before the pandemic. On the other hand, they took advantage of the opportunity to reduce their debt levels and harm their shareholders.

Monster profits that will make you shiver

In the Old Continent, these pharaonic profits gave rise to heated debates around the establishment of a temporary tax on the “superprofits” of multinationals while many households saw their purchasing power eroded by rising costs. to live. Therefore, last May, London announced the creation of a unique tax in the energy sector to help finance part of the government’s aid for the most modest households. Italy took the same approach.

A temporary tax was also introduced in Spain and Portugal. These two countries on the Iberian Peninsula got an exemption from Brussels to temporarily deviate from the rules of the European electricity market. Objective: limit the price of gas supplied by gas power stations within one year. Gas producers are paid and receive the difference between the market price and the capped tariff. This compensation will be financed by an income tax collected by the electricity companies.

France rejects idea of ​​a tax on “superprofits”

In France, the track of an “extraordinary tax” on the “extraordinary profits” of hydrocarbon suppliers, maritime transport providers or even motorway concessions was completely dismissed by parliamentarians on Tuesday, August 2. It That track, first discussed last spring, resurfaced in recent days after TotalEnergies’ earnings doubled in the second quarter.

The Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, reiterated his opposition to “Pavlovian reflex of taxation”. “A tax has never improved the lives of our citizens. They need money in their pockets, not in the pockets of the state”supported the Minister.

Under pressure, TotalEnergies announced a few days ago that it would apply a discount at the pump of 20 cents per liter between September and November at all its service stations, then 10 cents per liter for the rest of the year. .

(With AFP)