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Brits face a massive increase in energy bills. BP and Shell could be on the hook to pay

CNN BUSINESS

Brits face a massive increase in energy bills. BP and Shell could be on the hook to pay

London (CNN Business)The UK government is coming under mounting pressure to increase taxes on oil and gas companies, including BP and Shell. The aim: to help British households cope with skyrocketing energy bills.

The main opposition Labour Party this weekend called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose a windfall tax on companies pumping oil and gas from the North Sea, saying that the money raised could be used to cut £200 ($272) from soaring household bills.

BP (BP) and Shell (RDSA) both operate in the North Sea, and have benefited from rising gas and oil prices. BP CEO Bernard Looney told the Financial Times in November that surging commodity prices had turned the company into a “cash machine.” The company posted profits of $3.3 billion in the third quarter of 2021, and said it planned to return an extra $1.25 billion to shareholders.

Shell made more than $4 billion in the quarter, and is also rewarding investors with a $7 billion share buyback program as it returns cash from the sale of its shale assets in the Permian Basin, which stretches from Texas to New Mexico.

Industry group OGUK, which represents UK offshore producers including Shell and BP, said last week that a windfall tax would make energy companies less likely to invest in the country, causing “irreparable damage to the industry” that would “leave consumers even more exposed to global shortages.”

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