Shell Makes $5 Billion Profit in Q2; Climate Activists Stage Protest at London Headquarters

Oil and gas giant Shell reported on Thursday it made a profit of $5 billion in the second quarter. The huge profit was still 56 percent lower than the numbers in the same quarter a year ago, due mainly to the fall in oil and gas prices. The second quarter profits were also lower than the $9.65 billion it made in profits in the first quarter of the year.

Shell CEO Wael Sawan said the company's performance was sound despite the low crude prices and refining profit margins. "Shell delivered strong operational performance and cash flows in the second quarter, despite a lower commodity price environment, Sawan said in a statement.

Generous Dividend Increase

The oil major also rewarded the shareholders by offering a dividend increase and a share buyback programme. "Today we are delivering on our Capital Markets Day commitment of a 15% dividend increase. We are going further on our buyback guidance by commencing a $3bn programme for the next three months and, subject to board approval, at least $2.5bn at the Q3 2023 results," the CEO added.

Shell's company logo is pictured at a gas station. Reuters

"As we deliver more value with less emissions, we will continue to prioritise share buybacks, given the value that our shares represent," Sawan said.

As the earnings missed forecasts, analysts said the results were disappointing. "A fairly disappointing set of 2Q numbers" said Jefferies analyst Giacomo Romeo, according to Reuters. The analyst also cited weaker third-quarter guidance from Shell in the backdrop of continued price decline in the commodity.

Price Decline

Shell, like other oil and gas majors, had hugely benefited last year from the bumper price surges in oil and gas in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

However, global oil and gas market prices have plunged in the later months. The prices averaged $76.60 a barrel in the last quarter, compared with an average of $112 in the second quarter of last year.

Oil Platform
Oil Platform Wikimedia Commons


Meanwhile, climate activists staged a protest in front of Shell's headquarters in London after the company reported $5 billion quarterly profits. The activists decried the zooming profits made by the energy companies, even as the world suffered from devastating weather conditions generally attributed to climate change.

The activists criticized the Big Oil for not doing enough to attain the zero emission goals. They said Shell was not spending enough on investment for a greener future but increasing the pumping of oil and gas instead.

Crude oil prices
Crude oil prices Flickr

"While millions attempt to rebuild their lives after months of extreme weather wreaked havoc from Rhodes to Rajasthan, Shell is upping oil and gas production, slashing investment in renewables and posting billions of dollars in profits," said Maja Darlington, a campaigner at Greenpeace UK, according to the Guardian.

The campaigners said the energy companies were making huge money from the Ukraine war. "It continues to make huge amounts of money off the back of the war in Ukraine and high energy prices. Meanwhile, incredibly, Shell is now paying more out to its shareholders in dividends and buybacks than it makes in profit, clearly prioritising these transfers over investing a net zero future," said George Dibb, the head of the Centre for Economic Justice at the thinktank IPPR.