High gas prices leave families struggling, while Shell books major profits
As energy prices once again soar to record highs and an increasing number of families across the Netherlands face rapidly rising utility bills, the second quarter of 2022 saw Shell’s profits increase significantly as a result of the high oil and gas prices.
European gas prices reach record highs in July
The ongoing war in Ukraine and Russia’s move to significantly reduce gas supplies to Europe have once again resulted in prices skyrocketing. On Wednesday, gas prices peaked at a whopping 205 euros per megawatt hour, and have remained at around the 200-euro mark throughout the course of Wednesday and Thursday morning.
The staggering price breaks the previous record set in the spring, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine. At the beginning March, the price of gas soared to 194 euros per megawatt hour, breaking the record of 181 euros set in December 2021.
Households in the Netherlands face rapidly rising energy bills
While the conflict has certainly raised prices - and tensions - across the continent, Europe was already facing an energy crisis before Russia moved to invade Ukraine in February, and Dutch banks report that thousands of households are already facing the consequences in the form of significantly higher energy bills.
According to Rabobank, between last August and May 2022, more than half of households in the Netherlands saw their bills rise, some by more than 100 euros a month. 10 percent of households saw their monthly costs rise by around 10 percent, while 13 percent faced an increase of more than 50 percent, and nearly 4 percent saw their energy bills more than double.
"The number of households that have to deal with an increase in energy bills has increased faster in recent months than the number of people whose energy bills are falling,” explains Rabobank economist Carlijn Prins. “The higher energy prices are therefore gradually affecting an increasing proportion of households.”
Shell books profit of 11,5 billion euros in Q2
While an increasing number of families are struggling to keep up with the rising energy bills, the high oil and gas prices have once again led to big wins over at Shell. In its most recent financial report, the company recorded a profit of 11,5 billion euros in the second quarter of this year - an increase of 26 percent compared to the first three months of the year.
Shell CEO Ben van Beurden announced that the company would be using part of these profits, not only to buy back shares in the third quarter, but also to invest in more sustainable energy.
“With volatile energy markets and the ongoing need for action to tackle climate change, 2022 continues to present huge challenges,” Van Beurden said. “Consequently, we are using our financial strength to invest in secure energy supplies which the world needs today, taking real, bold steps to cut carbon emissions, and transforming our company for a low-carbon energy future.”