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While Consumers Struggle With High Gas Prices, Big Oil Brought in $46 Billion Total Earnings Last Quarter

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Major energy companies have raked in record-breaking cash as the average consumer has faced soaring gas prices.

Shell, Chevron, and ExxonMobil together brought in $46 billion in earnings in the second quarter, per reports from last week and NBC News.

Energy prices have jumped hugely this year, primarily due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the New York Times reported. This has helped to drive inflation and squeezed consumers worldwide, and not everyone is happy the companies are bringing in sky-high revenue.

Chevron reported $11.6 billion in earnings on Friday, citing higher refinery margins, among other factors. Per NBC, Shell reported adjusted earnings of $11.5 billion—which removed some price shifts and one-off expenses—but with supplies included, the company reported it garnered $16.7 billion.

However, ExxonMobil was the real winner, bringing in $17.9 billion, which Reuters reported was a record for the company. Chevron and Shell also broke company records, according to Reuters and the NYT.

Exxon’s CEO Darren Woods in an interview Friday with CNBC attributed to the company investing more while competitors focused on getting money back to investors, per Seeking Alpha.

“What we’re seeing today is that extra production that we invested in five years ago and since then, that we’re in a position to bring more product to market,” he told CNBC.

The record revenue numbers from energy companies stem from increased demand after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The EU has looked to limit reliance on Russian energy, and Russia itself has been reducing natural gas deliveries as well. Sixty-two percent of the EU’s total imports from Russia in 2021 were energy-related, for perspective.

Beyond that, demand for air and car travel came roaring back after pandemic-era low prices. In the US, the highest recorded national average for a gallon of gas was $5.016 in mid-June, per AAA.

That figure is down to $4.212 Monday, but the organization released a statement Monday saying that decreased prices could lead consumers to drive more again, making the price drop temporary.

It’s been tough on consumers. One family told CBS News in mid-July they’re taking out short-term, high-interest loans to pay for gas to drive their child to cancer treatments.

There’s been some political grumbling, too. The UK has a 25% windfall tax on energy companies in the works, which energy companies have opposed, according to Reuters.

Sinead Gorman of Shell, which is based in London, said on the company’s earnings call on Thursday it would likely cost the company $420 million next quarter. But, similar things probably will not happen in the US, NBC reported.

Shell, Exxon, and Chevron did not respond to requests for comment on the tax ideas or to confirm if the profits broke records.

One oil analyst, Andy Lipow, told NBC part of why gas prices tend to irk consumers more because they are so visible. Oil companies are, “still making less than Google or Apple,” he told the outlet. “No one is complaining about $1,300 iPhones.”

Chevron reported a new stock buyback program, and Shell increased its current one in Q2, which companies tend to do when they’re performing well. They increase the value of outstanding stock as well as project confidence in the market.

Shell claimed the profits would support more environmentally-positive initiatives. “We are using our financial strength… to cut carbon emissions, and [transform] our company for a low-carbon energy future,’ Shell plc CEO, Ben van Beurden said in a statement accompanying the earnings release.

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