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Mega profits for oil companies: That's how much they earned in 2022

The oil price, which has risen because of the Ukraine war, is flushing billions into the coffers of the corporations. That's how much Shell, BP, Total Energies and Co. earned in 2022.

Europe's largest oil company Shell achieved a new record profit in 2022. The Netherlands-based company's adjusted profit rose to $39.9 billion (currently the equivalent of about 37.2 billion euros) - roughly double the previous year. There had been indications of this happening in the previous quarters, in which Shell had reported several record profits. The oil company has offset the low income from liquid gas trading with higher prices and refinery margins. Additional income from gas and electricity trading was also added.

Rival ExxonMobil made even more money last year. The US oil giant earned $55.7 billion for the year, up about 140 percent on its net income year-on-year. For the Americans, too, the entire financial year went extremely well; they admit to having “clearly benefited from the favorable market environment” in 2022.

BP makes a loss despite record profits

The oil company Chevron, which is also based in the USA, also earned more than ever last year thanks to the sharp rise in oil and gas prices. Here the adjusted surplus was around 35.5 billion dollars (a good 33 billion euros). After also very strong quarterly figures, analysts had expected an even better result here.

There is a curiosity at BP. On the one hand, the British oil company made more money in 2022 than ever before in its history: Compared to the previous year, profits have roughly doubled to almost 28 billion dollars (approximately 26 billion euros). Nevertheless, the bottom line is that BP is making a loss of 2.5 billion dollars (a good 2.3 billion euros). The main reason for this is the withdrawal of the British from the Russian oil multinational Rosneft, in which they previously held almost 20 percent of the shares. As a result, BP had to write off around 24 billion dollars (almost 22.4 billion euros).

Total with Russia write-off

The year 2022 was similar for Total Energies. Net profit would have been $36.2 billion, but the French oil giant had to write off almost $15 billion because of its exit from Russia. The bottom line was a profit of $20.5 billion, one of Total's best-ever operating results, despite the special Russia item. Compared to the previous year, net profit increased by 28 percent.

If you add up the net profits of the five western oil multinationals mentioned, the result is a total of 195.3 billion dollars (almost 182 billion euros).Industry observers had previously assumed $198.7 billion (a good €185 billion). This means that the total profit is around 50 percent above the previous record, which was set more than a decade ago. Even factoring in BP's and Total Energies' Russia write-downs, the total gain is $149.1 billion.

Aramco probably also with a record profit

The figures of the world's largest mineral oil company Aramco from Saudi Arabia are not included here. The most valuable company in the world reports its figures for the fourth quarter and thus for the whole of 2022 later. But here, too, dizzying earnings can be expected, after all, Aramco already posted net profits totaling 130.3 billion dollars (around 121.5 billion euros) in the first nine months of last year.

In view of such profits and at the same time a heavy financial burden on consumers, many sides have been calling for an excess profit tax for energy companies for a long time. But Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) had long resisted such a tax on special profits. Under pressure from the EU, the special levy for oil and gas companies is coming after all.

Excess profit tax is coming

The Federal Ministry of Finance wants to tax the excess profits of mineral oil and gas companies with a tax rate of 33 percent. This is the minimum rate that describes the EU regulation that was adopted by the Council in Brussels at the beginning of October as a reaction to the high energy prices and that had to be implemented by the end of last year.

All companies active in the oil, gas, coal and refinery sectors should therefore pay extra tax on profits from the years 2022 and 2023 that are more than 20 percent above the average profit for the years 2018 to 2021. The federal government intends to use the proceeds, as well as the skimming off of chance profits in the electricity sector, to cover the financing of the electricity price brake. According to Welt, the federal government's additional income is estimated at one to three billion euros in the draft. In contrast, the federal government is planning an amount in the double-digit billions to skim off the chance profits on the electricity market.

Other European countries reacted faster

The British government had already introduced such a special tax in May 2022. A 25 percent energy tax should bring five billion pounds (equivalent to around 5.6 billion euros) into the coffers of the British state to finance social spending. Belgium, Italy and Spain also quickly introduced a corresponding tax. The government in Madrid is planning around two billion euros in revenue for 2023 and 2024, which is intended to finance relief packages.

In our photo show we show you how the price of petrol in Germany is made up.


The mineral oil companies earn massively from the consequences of the Ukraine conflict and the resulting high oil price. In short, they are war profiteers. And those who enrich themselves from the war must be stopped. Following the example of other European countries, the German federal government has meanwhile also decided to skim off the massive excess profits of the mineral oil companies through a special tax and to make relief packages available to the citizens. Shell and Co. have danced on our noses long enough: Obvious but hardly provable price agreements at the gas stations were just as much a part of this as the delayed passing on of the tank discount to customers.


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