Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/519/3749
From The Socialist newspaper, 6 February 2008
Output down, but profits hit new record
OIL GIANT Shell, the world's second biggest quoted oil company, has just recorded the largest annual profits in British corporate history. At a time when world economies are on the brink of recession, Shell made $27.6 billion (£14 billion) profit for 2007 - that's £1.5 million an hour.
ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company, also announced the biggest profits by one company ever - $40 billion. BP's profits actually fell by 22%, though they are still increasing their dividends. None of these companies has produced any more oil or gas - in fact Shell's production slid down for the fifth year running and it cannot predict its output for 2008.
Shell is investing less in exploration than previously and far from investing much in renewable sources of energy production as it promised, they are now concentrating on environmentally damaging projects, such as in Canada's oil sands and into exploitation of Iraq's oil resources.
Shell increased the profits stream into shareholders' pockets largely by putting petrol prices at its pumps up to over £1 a litre.
Both trade unions and environmental groups have called the energy industry's profit levels 'obscene' and want a windfall tax to allow the government to lower prices for millions of people who cannot afford to heat their homes and also to invest in improving energy efficiency.
An immediate windfall tax on Shell's profits would help, but the best long-term solution is to bring these companies into public ownership.
DESPITE ITS record profits, Shell is accused by workers on five North Sea oil platforms of a "severe lack of commitment to safety".
In 2006 and 2007 fires broke out on two Shell platforms and a third narrowly avoided an explosion. A worker, speaking anonymously to Channel 4 News, said that on the Cormorant Alpha platform five safety valves on the main gas pipeline were leaking. But the company wouldn't shut down production to rectify the fault.
It was 20 years ago this summer that the Piper Alpha platform exploded killing 167 workers.
Donate to the Socialist Party
Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
In The Socialist 6 February 2008:
MPs' insult to low-paid workers
Their hands in our till
Protests as multinational grabs health centre
Rich avoid paying £25 billion tax bill
Why they call them 'fat cats'
War and terrorism
Bush and Brown's Afghan strategy lies in tatters
Socialist Party women
Fight attacks on abortion rights
Socialist Party news and analysis
Victory! Bristol campaign saves library
Victory! Hull youth workers save jobs
Inspiring victory for Polish workers
Fighting the BNP in Barnsley
Shell output is down, but profits hit new record
Young workers and Students
Young workers get organised
Protest against university fees
Refreshing student work in Bangor
International Socialist Resistance website
Socialist Students website
Environment and socialism
Incinerators: Our health at risk!
Stop the Anglesey nuclear time-bomb
Socialist Party debate
How can an alternative to the main political parties be developed?
International socialist news and analysis
Kenya: Workers' movement must provide an alternative
France: LCR votes to launch a new party
Birmingham: Thousands on strike against pay cuts
Workplace news in brief
The Socialist 6 February 2008 |
Join the Socialist