BP chief hits out at Boris Johnson and claims UK needs ‘more gas, not less’

Energy bills: James Cleverly says there will be support available

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Bernard Looney has slammed Mr Johnson, arguing that the UK needs “more gas, not less” in order to get out of this energy crisis. This comes as the skyrocketing energy prices boost the oil company’s profits to their highest in eight years. BP reported an annual profit of $12.85billion last year after a large loss in 2020.

This has prompted some to call for a one-off windfall tax to help support families struggling to pay their energy bills.

Mr Johnson may face pressure from Labour, who have said it was “only fair and right” that energy companies that are making higher profits should pay more tax.

Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “It simply cannot be right these energy companies are making super-profits whilst people are too scared to turn their radiators on and terrified there will be a cold snap.

“A windfall tax is the best way to get money to the people who need it quickly, but also to make sure there is some sense of trust and proportionality in the system.”

But a BP spokesperson said: “Generally, a windfall tax on UK oil and gas producers would not encourage investment in producing the UK’s gas resources.

“Very importantly, we also believe the UK should continue its [low carbon] energy transition as fast as possible. BP is committed to playing our part here.”

Mr Looney warned that taxing energy businesses would risk damaging investment into fossil fuels at a time when it is desperately needed.

He said: “If anything, the UK needs more gas, not less gas right now, and that’s going to require more investment, not less investment and a windfall tax isn’t probably going to incentivise more investment.”

Last week, Dutch oil behemoth Shell also reported massive profits of $19billion.

This happened on the same day that the energy regulator Ofgem announced a 54 percent increase in domestic energy bills for UK households, coming in April.

Mr Looney also pointed to his company’s contribution to the UK economy, promising that BP would invest £2 for every £1 it makes in the UK this decade.

Meanwhile, other experts, including Greg Jackson, the CEO of Octopus Energy has called on the Government to slash red tape to build renewable energy capabilities much faster than ever before.

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Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “We have got to move fast. During the pandemic, we took a 15-year process of creating a vaccine and we did it in less than a year.

“And we did that by slashing red tape. that’s what we need to do now with renewable energy generation.

“Currently, it takes 7 years on average to build a wind farm. We’ve got to learn from the pandemic and build that in a year.

“If we were building renewable generation with the same urgency now, as we did during the pandemic, we could be enjoying cheaper electricity next winter.”

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