Shell announced Thursday that it made a near-record $28 billion last year, thanks to robust liquefied natural gas trading, despite growing concerns about the death and destruction caused by the use of fossil fuels.
Despite the massive profits, Shell has chosen to prioritize its shareholders over the environment and workers. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 4% and announced plans to repurchase an additional $3.5 billion of its own shares over the next three months.
In 2023, Shell distributed around $23 billion to its shareholders, equivalent to over 10% of the company’s market value. This emphasis on shareholder returns reflects a broader, disturbing trend within the fossil fuel sector, where investors are increasingly focused on securing profits amid the uncertain future of fossil fuels.
The company made 30% less than the previous year, largely attributed to lower chemical and refining profit margins and sluggish fuel sales amidst a global economy still reeling from the energy price surge caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
Notably, Shell stands out as the first major global energy company to release its 2023 full-year results. This announcement has driven the company’s stock up by 2.5% as of 1240 GMT, consistently outperforming its industry rivals with an impressive 8% increase over the past year.
Wael Sawan, who assumed the role of Chief Executive in January 2023, made a commitment to reshape Shell’s strategy. His approach centers on prioritizing higher-margin projects, maintaining stable oil production, and boosting natural gas output. As part of this strategic shift, Shell has embarked on company-wide staff reductions, including within its low-carbon solutions division, as it navigates the evolving landscape of the energy industry.