Energy supplier profits and windfall tax

Article posted

5th May 2023

Read time

2-4 min read


Mollie Pinnington

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BP, a giant oil company, saw huge profits in the first quarter of 2023.  The £5 billion profit made by the company shows how the oil industry is benefitting off the back of high energy prices. 

Although energy prices have softened, they still remain elevated and clearly, this is still benefitting energy giants. This has brought back the discussion of whether energy giants should have to pay more windfall tax due to their high profits.

The profits made by the oil giant were nearly £1 billion more than they were forecasted to make. This has sparked the conversion of windfall tax again and whether these energy giants should pay more amid homes and businesses struggling to stay afloat due to expensive energy prices.

Whilst market volatility can cause energy bills to go higher for consumers, it can sometimes benefit energy companies as the market becomes more competitive.  BP said that the profits had come from strong oil trading and volatility in the energy market pushing up revenues for trading in the oil industry.

BP has spoken and said that they are looking to increase their investment into low-carbon energy, paying taxes and dividends to help ease the UK energy market and struggling energy consumers.

Many ministers say this is not enough and the government should be taxing these companies further in order to bring down prices as the country is still dealing with a cost-of-living crisis, amid high inflation.


How can windfall taxes impact energy consumers?

Whilst extra windfall taxes could balance the UK energy market, making gas and electricity prices cheaper, they could also damage the market in the long run.

Whilst higher taxes on current profits would make sense, this reduces the number of projects big energy companies want to uptake in the UK. So whilst this would solve the issues in the energy market for the short term, it would not benefit the country as much in years to come.

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