The UN Secretary General has slammed the “grotesque greed” of oil and gas companies making record profits off the energy crisis.
Antonio Guterres said the world’s biggest energy companies made a profit of nearly $100bn in the first three months of the year.
Four of the companies - Exxon, Chevron, Shell and TotalEnergies – made over $50bn in the second quarter.
It comes as families all over the world struggle to meet the spiralling cost-of-living, with basics like food, home heating and fuel all surging in the early part of 2022.
The UN Secretary General says oil and gas companies should face special taxes on profits they are making at the expense of people and the climate.
“It is immoral for oil and gas companies to be making record profits from this energy crisis on the back of the poorest communities and at a massive cost to the climate,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Consumers Association of Ireland (CAI) is urging the Government to do something about ‘blatant profiteering’ of energy companies.
The association says companies are continuing to charge high prices despite the fall in the international price of oil.
The price of oil is now at its lowest point since last February; however, many companies are continuing to charge high prices, particularly when it comes to home heating.
The international price has fallen more than 10% in the last week alone and while some service stations have started to reduce the price at the pump, others remain stubbornly high.
CAI spokesman Dermot Jewell told Newstalk that Government must step in to ensure companies are charging a fair price.
“It makes sense that Government step in now and make it clear that prices must be transparent, that they must address inflation and more to the point, that they must reduce in line and in tandem with all fuel prices,” he said.
“That needs to happen now.”
He said it is a real cause of concern that the cost of home heating oil is not reducing at the same rate as petrol and diesel.
“Where international prices are reducing, it should follow that national rates should fall – but it’s not happening,” he said.
“It is certainly not happening at anything approaching the speed at which they are needed to reduce to benefit those who rely on home heating oil predominantly.”
Last month, the UK approved a one-off 25% ‘windfall tax’ on energy companies – with the British Government hoping it would raise €25bn.
Italy has imposed similar measures; however, the French Government rejected such a move.
The idea has been proposed in the US; however, it appears to have little political momentum behind it.