Tuesday, 29 July 2008

BP's profits

BP have just announced a huge increase in their profits over the last three months. According to today's BBC news report, they ascribe this to the rise in the 'wholesale' oil price, which is determined by 'market forces' that, by implication, they are unable to control or influence.
Hang on, BP. Leaving aside your disingenuous depiction of yourselves as hapless victims of this putative global or celestial invisible hand (you are in fact your own wholesale supplier, aren't you? otherwise what's all this Russian business about?) by your own analysis the maths don't add up. If your supplier puts up his price, you have two choices - either you pass this on to your consumer, resulting in unchanged profits, or you absorb it, resulting in decreased profits. There's no way that your profit can increase. Simple arithmetic.
I know that they will come up with a megaton of accountancy to explain how an increase in corporate profits is in no way related to a price increase to their ultimate customers (you and me): I say 'weasels'. They're ripping us off.

PS Sorry, did I say 'Ultimate'? That's BP's brand name for a new kind of slightly different petrol which was, a year ago, being marketed as saving me money at the pump. Really?

1 comment:

  1. To this, add Shell, Exxon, and in a slightly different way, Centrica.
    All these non-governmental authorities (I think that's a fair description, neatly balancing their pleas of impotence against their actual control over our destiny) claim that their profits are due to their haplessness in the face of market forces - I have heard this explicitly asserted over and over again, by Chief Executives, over the last few days - and yet, they never offer an explanation of precisely what these 'forces' consist of, how they operate day-to-day, what are the names of the people who are doing this; we are, after all looking at human behaviour here!
    Most importantly, where's the money going? It's claimed that these profits are essential in order to secure future investment in exploration, infrastructure, storage etc - if so, why not publish the figures? We know that dividends are being hiked up by 16% - does this mean that 84% is being ploughed back into the future? I'd love to think so. But they need to explain why, how and when. And how is it that at least a bit of that 84 or whatever percent isn't being ploughed backed into the present, by slashing prices at the pump or the meter?