Big profits thanks to rising energy prices: Shareholders of big oil companies can expect big payouts.
The western oil giant is treating its shareholders to a record $30 billion in dividends and share buybacks after increasing quarterly earnings. The reason for this is rising energy prices, which gave the five largest Western oil multinationals BP, Shell, TotalEnergies, Chevron and Exxon the most profits in years in the second quarter.
At the same time, the oil giant is reluctant to invest nearly $60 billion of combined profits in new oil and gas projects. Ultimately, it is important to weigh the effects of recession and climate change on future demand for fossil fuels. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said last year that investors should not fund new oil, gas and coal projects if the world wants to achieve a zero-emissions economy by the middle of the century.
“With all the uncertainty in the world, now is not the time to lose discipline,” BP CEO Bernard Looney told Reuters after reporting BP’s highest profit in 14 years.
Inflation likely to increase due to low investment
The reluctance to spend could exacerbate the energy supply crisis, which has pushed inflation to its highest level in decades. Oil and gas production from BP, Shell, Total Energy, Chevron and Exxon reached 14.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) in the first six months. That’s about 10 percent below pre-pandemic levels, according to Reuters calculations.