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Oil giants to hand out £79bn to shareholders as struggling families hammered with £94 bill hike

OIL giant shareholders were today set to get record payouts topping $100 billion (£79 bn) for 2023 as struggling families were hammered with a £94 energy bills hike.

Analysts said the world’s five largest listed oil companies — BP, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies — are likely to shower their investors with huge dividend payments and share buybacks bigger even than the $104bn handed out in the 2022 calendar year.

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said this is despite the international prices of crude and gas across Europe dropping since the peak in the year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Fuel poverty campaigners yesterday slammed the profiteering, which emerged on the day that energy regulator Ofgem increased its energy price cap by 5 per cent in response to rising wholesale prices.

End Fuel Poverty Coalition co-ordinator Simon Francis told the Morning Star: “Once again major energy firms are rewarding their shareholders while families face rising energy costs.

“If only the government closed the loopholes in the Windfall Tax on energy firms’ profits, ministers could have afforded to bring in the measures needed to keep people warm this winter.”

Global Justice Now media manager Anita Bhadani said: “It’s a new year, yet we’re already facing the same old tactics from greedy, climate-wrecking oil and gas companies.

“That shareholders are rewarded with billions at the same time people across the UK struggle with rises to their energy bills, and people in the global South face the sharp end of the climate crisis is utterly shameful.

“We can’t afford to keep bankrolling this outrageous profiteering at our collective expense — we need a just, green transition now.”

Alice Harrison, a campaigner at Global Witness, said the “fossil fuel economy” is rigged in favour of the rich.

“The global energy crisis has been a giant cash grab for fossil fuel firms,” she said. 

“And instead of investing their record profits in clean energy, these companies are doubling down on oil, gas and shareholder payouts.

“Yet again millions of families won’t be able to afford to heat their homes this winter, and countries around the world will continue to suffer the extreme weather events of climate collapse.”

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak has previously said that it “doesn’t have to be this way” as other governments are investing in publicly owned clean power and insulating homes.

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