Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why It Would Make No Sense to Punish Oil Giant; Pump Profits: BP Raked in ?2.9 Million an Hour on the Forecourts This Summer

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why It Would Make No Sense to Punish Oil Giant; Pump Profits: BP Raked in ?2.9 Million an Hour on the Forecourts This Summer

Article excerpt

Byline: NEIL COLLINS

WE'VE discovered the hard way that if there's one thing worse than having banks which are making too much money, it's banks losing so much the taxpayer has to rescue them. So before we listen to the ritual attacks on oil companies' profits, we might consider what would happen if the Government did force them to pay up or charge less.

Today's BP numbers are big as it's a global company, and the last year has seen the oil price rocket. As a result, in just three months, BP has earned the equivalent of ?100 for every man, woman and child in Britain.

It is generating ?3 billion cash a month. It's buying back its shares, and raising the quarterly dividend by twothirds.

In the last nine months it has made $23 billion, or about ?15 billion.

Yet an oil company that cannot make massive profits under these conditions is not going to survive. Producing oil is an expensive, long-term business, with severe geological and political risks. …

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