Bumper BP profits of £4bn in three months spark fierce criticism

Oil and fuel big BP has reported one other set of robust outcomes as power costs stay excessive.

Income hit $5bn (£4bn) within the first three months of the 12 months, though this was down from $6.2bn final 12 months with oil costs having fallen from the height seen after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Bumper earnings from power corporations have led to requires them to pay extra tax with households dealing with excessive payments.

Labour referred to as for a “correct” windfall tax on power earnings.

“In fact we wish BP and others to make earnings to allow them to make investments however these are earnings that they didn’t anticipate to make, these are earnings which are over and above as a result of the world worth of power is so excessive,” Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer advised BBC Breakfast.

BP reported file annual earnings final 12 months as the corporate – together with the remainder of the power sector – benefitted from the surge in oil and fuel costs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It has led to large earnings for power corporations, but in addition fuelled an increase in power payments for households and companies.

Nick Butler, a former BP govt and visiting professor at Kings School London, mentioned the robust outcomes had come “from a great inside enterprise efficiency but in addition from excessive costs around the globe”.

However he advised the BBC’s Right this moment programme the agency’s earnings had been prone to “come down quite a bit this 12 months” as oil and fuel costs had been falling again.

“That can have an effect on the income they get and the taxes they pay.”

Final 12 months, the UK authorities launched a windfall tax on earnings made out of extracting UK oil and fuel – referred to as the Vitality Income Levy (EPL) – to assist fund its scheme to decrease fuel and electrical energy payments.

The UK’s windfall tax fee is 35%. Oil and fuel corporations additionally pay 30% company tax on their earnings in addition to a supplementary 10% fee.

Together with the windfall tax, that takes their whole tax fee to 75%, though corporations are capable of scale back the quantity of tax they pay by factoring in losses or spending on issues like decommissioning North Sea oil platforms.

BP mentioned its UK enterprise – which accounts for lower than 10% of its international earnings – paid $650m (£520m) in tax between January and March, with about $300m because of the EPL.

For the reason that EPL was launched final 12 months, BP says it has now paid an extra $1bn in tax.

The worth of Brent crude oil reached almost $128 a barrel following the invasion of Ukraine, however has fallen again since. Its worth averaged $81 a barrel within the first three months of the 12 months, which was down 16% from the identical interval in 2022.

Wholesale fuel costs have additionally began to fall, which has raised hopes that family payments will begin to come down this summer time.

Nonetheless, BP mentioned it anticipated oil costs to stay “elevated” within the second quarter given the current choice by some oil producing nations to limit output in addition to growing demand from China.

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