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The Scotsman: Shell rejects 'profiteering' claims

Royal Dutch Shell hit back at claims it was profiteering at the expense of consumers after revealing it made £12.93 billion last year – the highest profits yet for a UK company.
The energy giant raked in the equivalent of almost £1.5 million an hour on the back of surging oil and gas prices, but insisted it was a good corporate citizen of the UK.
Shell said that only a tiny amount of its profits were made at the petrol pumps. It said it had paid twice as much as tax to the Treasury as in 2004 and large sums had been invested in its network of refineries and oilfields in the UK.
Accusations that Shell was cashing in at the expense of motorists came from consumer groups, which demanded that more should be done to protect consumers.
Fuel Lobby, which organised protests in an effort to force the Government into bringing down tax on fuel last year, said: “Yet again the British motorist is being hammered by, if not excessive taxation, then excessive profiteering.”
Such criticism was rejected by Shell chief executive Jeroen van der Veer who said: “It is not correct to think that all the profits are coming out of the UK. It is a world market and these are world market prices. This is the reality of the world.”
Shell said its profits came from more than 140 countries, with operations outside the UK making up significantly more than 90% of the haul. Mr van der Veer said Shell had invested significantly in the UK over the last 10 years and this had been very important for the UK economy.
His comments cut little ice with campaigner National Energy Action (NEA) which claimed Shell's profits came at the expense of one million more UK households falling into fuel poverty.
Motorists are paying more at the forecourts after the cost of crude oil rose to more than 70 US dollars a barrel last summer, prompted by a particularly bad hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico.
Although tax makes up two-thirds of the cost of petrol in the UK, a Treasury spokesman said fuel duty had fallen by around 14% in real terms since 2000, saving around 7p a litre for the average motorist.

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