Shell profits up 33% on oil surge


Shell profits up 33% on oil surge
Shell first half profits have soared 33 per cent on surging oil prices, as trade unions and environmentalists demand a windfall tax for oil companies.

Profits for the second quarter at the oil major rose to £11.56 billion compared to £8.67 billion last year.

Earnings were up despite a slight drop in production, by 1.6 per cent, as political unrest hit facilities in Nigeria.

Shell chief executive Jeroen van der Veer said: "Good operating performance, combined with increased oil and gas prices, offset the impact of weaker downstream conditions in the second quarter 2008."

On Tuesday, BP reported a 23 per cent rise in profits on the back of higher oil prices. Oil prices hit highs of $147 a barrel recently before falling back slightly.

The results have sparked calls for a windfall tax from trade union Unite. Tony Woodley, Unite's joint general-secretary, said: "It is high time our government moved to stop these fuel corporates picking the pockets of the poor and needy."

Friends of the Earth's campaigns director, Mike Childs said: "The government must introduce a windfall tax on huge oil company profits and invest the money on a comprehensive programme to make homes - especially those of the fuel poor - far more energy efficient.

"This would reduce fuel bills, cut the emissions of climate-changing pollution and help wean Britain off its dependency on increasingly expensive fossil fuels."

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