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Shell chief’s pay rose by a quarter in 2021 to £6m

The Guardian

Shell chief’s pay rose by a quarter in 2021 to £6m

Ben van Beurden was paid 57 times more than median Shell worker, according to oil firm’s annual report

Jasper Jolly: Thu 10 Mar 2022 09.13 GMT

The Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden’s pay rose by a quarter in 2021 to £6m, as the fossil fuel producer benefited from soaring energy prices amid calls for a windfall tax on energy companies.

The FTSE 100 company reported record profits during 2021, thanks in part to a gas price surge in the final three months of the year amid a rebound in demand for commodities as the global economy recovered from coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.

Van Beurden’s pay rise, to €7.4m (£6.1m) in 2021 from €5.8m (£4.9m) the year before, came amid widespread calls, including from the Labour party, for booming energy companies to pay a windfall tax on profits as people in Britain and beyond struggle with a cost-of-living crisis.

Average weekly earnings for British people rose by 4.3% in the year to December, meaning their real wages fell because of inflation, caused in part by higher energy prices.

Luke Hildyard, a director of the High Pay Centre, a campaign group, said: “Shell’s chief executive rakes in millions and half their UK employees make well over £100,000.

Van Beurden was forced to withdraw Shell from its joint ventures with Kremlin-controlled oil firm Gazprom worth a total of $3bn, including drilling projects at the Sakhalin-II liquefied natural gas facility, projects in Salym and Gydan, both in western Siberia, and its involvement in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which has been cancelled since the invasion.

Shell announced this week it would stop buying Russian oil or gas, and would close its 500 petrol stations in the country. The petrol stations closures have prompted a $400m writedown on assets.

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