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Shell Revels in Petro Profits as World Pleads for Climate Mercy

Posted by John Donovan: 2 November 2023

In a spectacle of corporate jubilation, Shell has flaunted a $6.2 billion profit bonanza, much to the horror of environmentalists and the delight of shareholders rubbing their hands in glee. As if mother nature hadn’t suffered enough, Shell has profited handsomely from the oil price bounce, a merry-go-round fueled by Opec+’s crafty production cuts and the sad ongoing soap opera of global conflicts.

This show of profits, a slight dip from last year’s staggering $9.4 billion—when oil prices soared amidst the heart-wrenching drama of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—still paints a rosy picture for Shell’s ledger. It seems the oil barons have found their silver lining in the dark clouds of geopolitical turmoil, with the World Bank casting a doomsday prophecy of oil prices potentially skyrocketing to an eye-watering $150 a barrel.

With a 23% leap in profits over the last quarter, Shell attributes its financial fitness to the serendipitous trifecta of higher oil prices, increased production, and the lucrative art of refining and gas trading. Meanwhile, Moscow points a finger at the West for meddling with the market, conveniently omitting its own role in the chaos.

As the world grapples with the economic squeeze, Shell’s announcement of a $3.5 billion shareholder spoils plan comes off as tone-deaf to the cries of a planet in peril and the consumers at the gas pumps. Critics like Jonathan Noronha-Gant from Global Witness and Greenpeace’s Charlie Kronick aren’t mincing words, slamming Shell for lining pockets while the world burns, both literally and metaphorically.

At the helm of this profit-laden ship is Captain Wael Sawan, who, since January, has steered Shell towards a more fossil-fueled future, with job cuts in the renewables sector as a cruel twist. It’s as if Shell, in the face of a climate emergency, has chosen to dance on the deck of the Titanic, blissfully rearranging the deck chairs as the iceberg looms ever closer.

And as always, Shell is given the standing invitation to correct any factual missteps, though one wonders if they’ll take a break from counting their coins to respond.

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