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Big oil’s quarterly profits hit £50bn as UK braces for even higher energy bills

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Bumper profits of nearly £50bn shared by the world’s five biggest oil companies prompted a chorus of calls for higher taxes on the sector as UK households were told to brace for average annual energy bills of more than £3,600 this winter.The UK firm BP said on Tuesday underlying profits had tripled to $8.5bn (£6.9bn) between April and June, thanks to high oil prices.

It was its biggest quarterly profit in 14 years and BP said it would hand out nearly £4bn to shareholders as a result.Prices have soared amid fears over supplies of energy caused in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.Oil companies in the UK and beyond have enjoyed booming earnings in recent months on the back of those rising energy prices as households around the world have struggled with soaring bills.Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor, said the “eye-watering profits” showed that the government was “totally wrong” to have given significant tax breaks to oil companies.A host of MPs from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green party as well as environmental campaigners called for a higher windfall tax on oil companies.The profits bonanza in the second quarter included a record $11.5bn profit for BP’s FTSE 100 rival Shell, record profits of $17.6bn and $11.6bn respectively for the US’s ExxonMobil and Chevron, plus $9.8bn for France’s Total.

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