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The biggest oil companies and the top financial institutions generated combined windfall profits of as much as $424 billion in the two years to June 2023, a report by ActionAid and Oxfam showed this week.
ActionAid and Oxfam have looked at the 200 largest companies in the world by market capitalization to estimate their windfall profits, comparing the earnings in the two years up to June 2023 with profits in the four preceding years. Of these 200 companies, 14 were in fossil fuels and 22 in the banking sector, bringing the total to 36 companies in these two sectors.
Of the profits across both sectors, US$424 billion can be considered windfall profits – profits that exceed the average from the baseline four years by over 20%, the report said.
The six biggest international oil majors alone posted as much as $219 billion in combined net profits for 2022, a new record high.
Each of Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell, Equinor, and TotalEnergies reported record profits for 2022, doubling their combined net earnings from 2021 and booking the best-ever year for Big Oil. The profits surged from around $100 billion booked for 2021, as oil and gas prices jumped last year following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and majors raised oil and gas production to meet the growing demand for oil and limited gas supply from Russia to Europe.
ActionAid and Oxfam, which presented their report in Davos, called for taxes on windfall profits that could finance climate mitigation measures.
The organizations said that “climate finance could get a massive boost by applying a windfall tax on windfall profits made in recent years by some of the world’s largest fossil fuels companies and the banks that finance them.”
“A tax of 90% on the windfall profits from the 24 months preceding July 2023 could generate as much as US$382 billion in revenue just from these 36 companies,” ActionAid and Oxfam said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.