This is the season of malcontent! This is the season of company accounts being made public, and this is where we pull our hair out wondering how on earth some companies can be recording such high profits whilst the rest of society is struggling to keep up and pay for the simplest of items.
BP has just posted profits of $28billion and the question on most keen observers lips is how are they able to make such huge gains at a time when everyday people are finding it increasingly difficult to pay for domestic energy consumption and put fuel in their vehicles.
Higher price of oil at a global level, reduced production costs and an overwhelming desire to earn as much money as possible in spite of any public pressure or any government weak attempts at condemnation.
Oil producing countries and companies with a global presence have been accused of cooperation and collusion to keep the prices abnormally high for longer than needed. The war between Russia and Ukraine adds another layer onto this, but there hasn’t been the will especially from OPEC to try to compensate for the reduction in oil and gas from Russia.
They haven’t tried to subsidise the world with cheaper oil or keep it at the same price. On the contrary they have increased prices and also it has been alleged to protect the Russian oil and gas industry in which they seem them as a partnership, whilst the rest of the world’s oil producing countries and companies just follow suit.
BP are not alone here…Shell reported nearly $40billion for 2022 and I dare say most if not all oil companies can display similar percentage gains.
The real question here is who is really benefitting from this and when the horizon is staring back at us with even higher fuel prices come the summer, what will governments do to say “enough is enough!”
As consumers we can only act as out wallets will allow. If we cannot afford to pay for fuel then simply speaking we cannot buy it. We can reduce demand for it by making fewer journeys but it is an essential that we cannot do without at this stage. We could seek alternatives but these are long term solutions that do not address the here and now.
As individuals we cannot force the price at the pumps down, but we can limit demand and make only the most essential of journeys…but that is not nearly enough!
We need governments to step in here and work on two fronts. To actively apply pressure to reduce oil prices and force companies to reduce their profits and for energy countries to cap their greed also.
At the very least, governments should be taxing these companies so much more and give back to the people to help them pay for such high energy prices. Whilst there has been movement on that, it is by no means enough. Large companies have always been criticised for not paying enough tax on huge profits. This is not their fault as they will work within the rules of the game…it is the rules that need to be changed and only those in positions of power who have the sense of community at the forefront of the minds, can affect change…especially when high profits turn into obscene numbers.
A totally biased reaction and I make no apologies!