French oil major TotalEnergies posted a record-breaking $36.2 billion in profits, double its 2021 figure, the company announced Wednesday. Total is the latest in a string of Big Oil announcements of record profits in 2022 as oil and gas companies took advantage of the global upheaval set off by the Russian war in Ukraine. Oil majors (Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell, Equinor, and TotalEnergies) more than doubled their total 2021 profits, pulling down $219 billion in 2022.
Enjoying their windfalls of war, oil majors are backtracking on their claims of transitioning from oil and gas to renewables. The record profits — and massive payouts to shareholders — are also fueling calls for (even stronger) windfall taxes on Big Oil’s wartime profits in Europe and the U.S. President Biden in his State of the Union address Tuesday decried Big Oil’s “outrageous” profits and called for quadrupling taxes on corporate stock buybacks while some in the EU are seeking to expand the bloc’s war windfall tax to include stock buybacks as well. (Total: AP, Bloomberg $, Reuters, UPI, OilPrice; Combined profits: OilPrice; Backtracking: Bloomberg $; Windfall taxes: Politico Pro $, TIME)