OIL giants Shell, Equinor and BP have announced multi-billion pound profits, sparking calls for tougher windfall taxes on fossil fuel companies.

Shell reported quarterly profits of $9.65 billion (£7.6bn) in the first three months of the year, which is higher than the profits made during the same period in 2022 despite a drop in energy prices.

The company said it would be returning $4 billion to shareholders over the coming months by buying back some of its shares.

Norwegian state-owned company Equinor also announced profits of $12 billion (£9.5bn) in the first quarter of the year.

It follows the company’s record-breaking pre-tax profits of 2022, which amounted to £62 billion as oil and gas companies benefitted from the volatility in the energy market caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this week BP also reported bumper profits.

It has sparked calls for radical action on climate change and the imposition of a harsher windfall tax on fossil fuel companies.

Sharon Graham, the general secretary of the Unite union, said these companies had been “practically untouched” by the current windfall tax.

“The scale of profiteering displayed today by Shell and earlier this week BP is one of the corporate scandals of our times. And this is practically untouched by Rishi Sunak’s so-called windfall tax.

“Actually it’s time to consider something way beyond a windfall tax. Unite research has found that if the UK had a Norwegian tax take we would be earning at least £30 billion more from the North Sea than we are now.

“Not taking any action against “Big Oil” means the profiteering plundering will continue without end.”

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The Scottish Greens also criticised the ineffectiveness of current taxes on fossil fuel companies and criticised the UK Government’s continued commitment to new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

Mark Ruskell MSP, the party’s energy and environment spokesperson, said: “The system is broken and the only ones benefiting are the multinational polluters. All over the country there are households and families who have been plunged into fuel poverty, they cannot afford business as usual.

“That means closing the loopholes in the so-called windfall tax and taxing these companies properly. But, more than that, it means working for the climate by decarbonising our economy and reducing our emissions.

“Yet, while millions around the world are feeling the devastating impact of the climate crisis, we have a Prime Minister who is set to approve 100 new oil and gas exploration licences in the North Sea. This would be unforgivable climate vandalism.

“This generation of politicians and leaders has the resources and the expertise to do things differently. We still have the chance for a just transition away from the fossil fuels that have done so much damage. It is an opportunity that we must take.”

Environmental charity Friends of the Earth Scotland (FotES) added to calls for tougher action on oil giants and said the UK Government should reject Equinor’s plans for the Rosebank field 130 kilometres west of Shetland, which contains over 500 million barrels of oil.

FotES's oil and gas campaigner Freya Aitchison said: “People are dying because they are living in cold homes, yet the UK Government has made a deliberate choice to support the companies that are causing this devastation instead of helping people escape the shackles of this fossil-fuelled energy system.

“To bring down bills and make our energy system cleaner and more reliable, the UK Government must reject Equinor’s plans for Rosebank and say no to all new oil and gas developments.

“We need a rapid and just transition to renewable energy that centres workers and communities, not greedy companies like Equinor profiting from climate breakdown.”