Oil companies make profit shock

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

BP and Shell have made a combined profit of almost £9bn in the first quarter of 2008.

The oil companies have, of course, been criticised for making such large profits.  Most of them either don’t – or don’t want to – understand that oil companies have only one responsibility and that is to make as much money as possible for their shareholders.

Petrol is only a part of what the oil companies actually do to make money – most of their money is made between the ground and the refinery.  Suggestions that the oil companies should subsidise the cost of petrol is ridiculous, it is the 80-odd percent tax that the British government puts on it that keeps the costs so high.

The cost of fuel doesn’t just hit drivers – it makes everything more expensive.  Everything is getting more expensive, especially food thanks to both rising fuel prices and worldwide food shortages caused by farmers turning fields over to biofuels.

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  1. axel (1214 comments) says:

    And over population has nothing to do with food being more expensive?

  2. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    Speculation is another reason why food has become more expensive.

    On taxation, I’d argue – and I think you’d agree – that the government could afford to cut fuel duty without having to cut public services or hike taxes elsewhere. This would do far more to tackle inflation than picking fights with the police, teachers, and other workers by imposing below-inflation pay “increases”. And since the energy industry is of strategic importance to the economy it should not be run for profit-maximisation at the expense of workers and consumers, and the environment.

  3. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Cutting fuel duty would, I think, have a net benefit to the economy because it will make goods cheaper and cheap goods means more disposable income which means we spend more on luxuries that attract VAT. Of course, the more VAT we pay, the more we have to give the EU but the theory is sound.

    It might seem strange coming from someone who is mostly a right wing capitalist but I think that essential services such as water, electricity, etc. should be state owned. That’s not to say it should be a monopoly but the state should have the means to supply essential services.

  4. axel (1214 comments) says:

    I’m not so sure about State ownership, could you imaganine Monkey Boy Brown appointing the cheif spark?

    I think a preferable idea might be a state owned provider, that provides a service for those on the dole, some weird internal civil service black mazgic oath could be worked out between DWP and the power commission to deal with bills and discounts.

    And because it is only a provider from the grid, it wont stop the other privately owned companies from paying their taxes and upgrading and maintaining the system.

    Charlie, what are your thoughts on this?

  5. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    I’ll keep it short and sweet.

    Energy industry – public ownership, democratic management.

    Wonko – you might be pro-capitalist, but as I’ve said before I doubt you are an actual capitalist…

  6. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Charlie, you’re right which is why I described myself as “mostly a right wing capitalist”. 😉

    I kind of agree with Axel – the state should be able to provide essential services but people should have the choice to go elsewhere.

  7. axel (1214 comments) says:


    As electricity and gas and water are all standard, i think they should set up a company, ‘Poor Peoples Utilities’ that supplies, well poor people.

    The customers would need to be poor, to the extent they are signing on or whatever and as a result, it means the DWP can pay their bills directly, therefore saving money on admin, allowing benefits to be directly directed.

    Their charges will be more expensive, to keep non poor people away, this wont matter to the customers as they will be on benefits and will get help.

    This will also be good for people with ‘chaotic lives’ as it means those various bills will be dealt with, internally by the civil service.

    Private industry will be able to supply the rest of us, thus having the best of both worlds, Private sector efficiency and innovation and public sector hugs for those that need it!

  8. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    “I kind of agree with Axel – the state should be able to provide essential services but people should have the choice to go elsewhere.”

    So fixers should be able to compete with cops?

    And Axel – gas, water, and electricity plus public transport would all be cheaper for consumers if they were publicly owned. It’s not as if Thatcher ran on the platform of “I’ll sell everything to my mates” – there was never a time when privatisation held majority support in opinion polls.

    Private owners of public utilities are very efficient at profiteering, but not so good at providing a decent service.

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