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Windfall tax urged as profits soar to £68bn

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Windfall tax urged as profits soar to £68bn

Phillip Inman
The Guardian, Monday April 28 2008

The world’s big oil firms, including BP and Shell, are expected to announce a jump in profits of more than a quarter this week. BP’s profits are expected to soar by more than 40% and Shell’s by around 15% as the rocketing price of oil boosts their finances for the past three months.

Together, the two firms are expected to see their profits reach £68bn this year.

Protesters are expected to claim that the firms are profiteering and should face a windfall tax to channel some of the surplus back into public services.

While fuel protesters are not expected to begin blockading supply terminals in a repeat of the dispute in 2000, some MPs are believed to be ready to voice concern at excess profits in the industry at the expense of consumers.

Oil prices have remained consistently high this year as a combination of increased demand and supply problems continues to plague the industry.

The Grangemouth dispute is only one of several problems faced by the industry, which saw the price of Brent crude soar close to $120 (£60) a barrel last week. In the early part of the decade a barrel of oil cost around $12 a barrel.

Operators in Nigeria have been hit by strikes.

Shell confirmed last week that it had been forced to shut some production in Nigeria after an attack by rebel groups on two of its pipelines.

Despite a rash of similar incidents, the oil producers’ cartel Opec said it saw no reason why it should increase its output.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/apr/28/oil.bp

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