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Cost of Living: Energy giants pocketing £420bn profit


Energy giants have pocketed £420billion in profits in just four years as millions of Britons struggle with soaring bills and the cost-of-living crisis - and fat-cat bosses cash in with seven-figure pay-packets.

New figures reveal the staggering amounts made by 20 utility firms since 2020.

British Gas, Shell and BP are among the British-based companies who have been making the most, while campaigners say many hard-pressed families are struggling to afford to keep the heating on.

Shell has accumulated £38.4billion in global profits since 2020, BP £38.4billion and British Gas's owner Centrica £7.4billion, according to the End Fuel Poverty Coalition.

Norwegian state-owned energy giant Equinor - responsible for more than a quarter of Britain's gas - has made £117.4billion worldwide in those four years.

Energy company chief executives have been taking home annual pay of up to £8million, with one of them even admitting he 'can't justify' how much he gets.

Simon Francis, co-ordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said: 'The energy firms are taking us for April fools.

'These numbers may look like fantastic amounts to shareholders, but the reality is that these profits have caused pain and suffering among people living in fuel poverty for the last few years.'

Fiona Waters, spokesperson for the Warm This Winter campaign, said: 'The public are beyond frustrated at being a cash machine for companies who use our broken energy system to cream as much profits as they can out of them, while hard working people are up to their eyeballs in energy debt.'


Global profits since 2020: £7.4billion

Chief executive's pay in 2023: £4.5million

Scottish businessman Chris O'Shea, who took over at British Gas's owner Centrica in early 2020, received £4.5million from the firm last year.

Mr O'Shea, 50, admitted in January to BBC Breakfast presenters Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt: 'You can't justify a salary of that size.

'It's a huge amount of money. I am incredibly fortunate .

'I don't set my own pay - that's set by our remuneration committee.'


Global profits since 2020: £84.5billion

Chief executive's pay in 2023: £7.9million

Lebanese-Canadian businessman Wael Sawan took over as Shell's chief executive in January last year.

In 2023 the father-of-three took home £7.9million in total, including his £1.4million base salary.

Beirut-born Mr Sawan, who grew up in Dubai, previously served as the head of BP's integrated gas and renewables division.

Ben van Buerden, his predecessor as CEO, received £9.7 million in pay and bonuses in 2022, up 53 per cent on 2021, the firm's annual report revealed last March.


Global profits since 2020: £38.4billion

Chief executive's pay in 2023: £8million

Murray Auchincloss became BP's interim chief executive in September 2023, replacing Bernard Looney who resigned after it was revealed he covered up details of relationships with colleagues.

Mr Auchinloss was paid a £1.02million salary but this was topped up to £8million overall - including £4.6million share-based rewards and a £1.8million bonus.


Global profits since 2020: £117.4billion

Chief executive's pay in 2023: £1.56million

The Norwegian state energy giant Equinor, based in Stavanger, appointed Anders Opedal as its CEO in November 2020.

The 55-year-old received £1.56million last year, including a base salary of £754,000 - along with £540,000 in variable remunerations, £136,000 in fixed salary additions, £106,000 in other fees and fringe benefits and £21,000 in pension benefits.