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Shell boss backs higher taxes for big energy companies

Outgoing Shell CEO Ben van Beurden told the audience at a London energy forum that he backs some form of tax on his industry. Photo courtesy of Shell.
Outgoing Shell CEO Ben van Beurden told the audience at a London energy forum that he backs some form of tax on his industry. Photo courtesy of Shell.

Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The head of energy supermajor Shell said Tuesday that consumers could see some relief from the strain of high energy prices by way of additional taxes on the oil and gas industry.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden addressed the audience of a London energy forum hosted by Energy Intelligence. He said a windfall tax on the industry may be "inevitable," but it may also be useful.

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"One way or another there needs to be government intervention," he said, according to The Guardian newspaper. "Protecting the poorest, that probably may then mean that governments need to tax people in this room to pay for it."

Ministers for the European Union said in late September they could likely bring in as much as $136 billion from taxes on companies that are reporting bloated profits, money that would be returned to constituents and businesses. The proposal followed European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans' call for energy companies working in the extraction of oil and gas business to return 33% of their profits this year.

RELATED EU backs new windfall tax on energy companies

"Some way or another, there needs to be government intervention ... that somehow results in protecting the poorest," van Beurden told the audience.

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The high price of near-essential commodities such as crude oil and natural gas is trickling down to consumers by way of record-high inflation, strains that could have a disproportionate impact on low-income households.

But higher prices have also boosted the profit of major energy companies such as Shell. The company reported adjusted earnings of $11.5 billion during the second quarter, a 26% improvement over first quarter levels.

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Van Beurden steps down as the CEO at Shell at the end of the year. His replacement is Wael Sawanhe, the current director of integrated gas, renewables and energy solutions.

RELATED British PM Liz Truss takes questions, opposes energy profits tax

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