Alok Sharma, the Tory Party's climate change czar, highlighted a comparison between BP’s share buybacks, worth $3.5bn (£2.9bn) this quarter alone, and its planned spending on low-carbon energy for the whole year of $2.5bn. We should be able to “see if their actions match their rhetoric”.
BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Total between them made underlying profits of nearly $100bn in the first half of 2022 – triple their earnings in the same period in 2021.
The same companies have so far announced shareholder returns (via dividends and share buybacks) for this year worth $52bn – more than half their profits for the first half.
Share ownership and a stream of dividends will do very little indeed to help poorer households cope with soaring energy prices.
The pace of buybacks and dividends during 2022 suggests that oil companies are content to hand more cash to investors rather than invest more to speed up the net zero transition.
Oil firms seem more interested in shareholders than net zero | Energy industry | The Guardian
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