Anger as BP profits ‘more than double’ following price hike after Ukraine war

Image of a motorist putting fuel in a vehicle.

Image of a car being refuelled. Credit: bunyarit/

Energy giant BP has announced record annual profits after oil and gas prices surged last year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The company’s profits more than doubled to $27.7bn (£23bn) in 2022, compared with $12.8bn the year before.

The news follows Shell reporting record earnings of nearly $40bn last week.

BP’s bumper profits were powered by another quarter of booming trading, with the fossil fuel giant capping off the year with a three-month earnings window of just under £9bn ($10.8bn).

Its quarterly results have dipped as oil and gas prices eased towards the end of the year, but profits remain historically high.

The company also posted a technical loss of £2.1bn ($2.49bn) when factoring in its heavy Russian asset write-down following the country’s invasion of Ukraine and the company’s subsequent exodus.

However, overall, full-year revenues climbed to £200.2bn ($241.4bn), a huge surge on the previous year’s £131.1bn ($157.7bn) – reflecting a vast post-pandemic turnaround for the energy sector.

The profits have led to calls for energy firms to pay more tax as many UK households continue to struggle with rising bills.

In response, BP boss Bernard Looney has said the British company was “helping provide the energy the world needs” and investing the transition to green energy.

Energy prices started to climb following the end of Covid lockdowns, before then rising sharply in March last year after Russia invaded Ukraine, chiefly due to concerns about supplies.

The price of Brent crude oil reached nearly $128 a barrel following the invasion, but has since fallen back to about $80.

Gas prices also spiked, but have since come down from their highs.

This has led to eye-watering profits for energy companies, but also fuelled a rise in energy bills for households and businesses.

Last year, the UK government introduced a windfall tax – called the Energy Profits Levy – to help fund its scheme to lower gas and electricity bills, but companies are able to reduce the amount of tax they pay by factoring in losses or spending on things like decommissioning North Sea oil platforms.

Nick Butler, previously a senior executive at BP and now a visiting professor at Kings College, has told the BBC that oil and gas prices would not remain “exceptionally high” forever.

Labour’s shadow climate secretary Ed Miliband has urged the UK government increase the windfall tax.

He said: “It’s yet another day of enormous profits at an energy giant, the windfalls of war, coming out of the pockets of the British people.”

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Simon Smedley

Reporter - Euro Weekly News