Leading energy groups BP and Shell will be the focus of most UK investor attention this week when both report first-quarter results.

BP will be first up on Tuesday, followed by Shell on Thursday.

Market watchers will be interested to hear what the companies might have to say about the ongoing impact of the controversial windfall tax on British oil and gas producers.

Any comments on climate change as well as investment plans will also be closely scrutinised.

The new boss of Shell said just a few weeks ago that he would think twice about investing in the North Sea - and that America is now significantly more attractive than Britain for energy investment

CEO Wael Sawan said the UK Government should take a page from some of the things that the US have done recently, through the Inflation Reduction Act - a massive package of subsidies to spur green investment.

Shell investment goal

The UK windfall tax, planning delays and uncertainty over subsidies were all making it harder for Shell to achieve its goal of investing up to £25billion in Britain this decade, he added.

By contrast. in America, the Inflation Reduction Act was providing “10-year clarity and tangible, fixed incentives that people know to bank on”.

Asked how Britain ranked in terms of attractiveness for energy investments, he said the US was ahead significantly and that Europe was also ahead of Britain.

Mr Sawan said that he would think twice about investing in more oil in the UK as there were “more attractive locations right now”, such as the US Gulf of Mexico.

BP in news

Meanwhile, BP was in the news last week when some of the UK's biggest pension funds voted against reappointing the company’s chairman over a decision to weaken its climate plans.

But the majority of shareholders still backed Helge Lund.

The move at the energy giant’s AGM came after it cut back its target to reduce emissions.

BP said it valued "constructive challenge and engagement".

Original target

The original target to reduce emissions was agreed by shareholders in 2022 and included a promise to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 35% to 40% by the end of this decade.

But, in February, BP announced it was now aiming for a 20% to 30% cut, so it could produce more oil and gas and extend the life of existing fossil-fuel projects.

Chief executive Bernard Looney says this was in response to increased concerns about energy security following the invasion of Ukraine.

  • Oil giant ExxonMobil's profits have more than doubled in the first three months of this year.

The US energy firm has uveiled record Q1 profits of £9billion - up from £4.3billion a year earlier.

The jump came despite falling oil prices and a £159million hit from windfall taxes in Europe.

Rival US oil group Chevron also reported an increase in its profits. It made more than £5billion in Q1, up 5% from the same time a year ago. It also paid a £103million windfall tax in the UK.

ExxonMobil chief financial officer Kathryn Mikells said: “We delivered a first-quarter record despite the fact that energy prices and refining margins are softening a bit.”

She added that the biggest contributor to the better-than-expected earnings came from strong production growth, driven by the start-up of new offshore developments and refining facilities.

Exxon legal case

Exxon is currently caught up in a legal case with the European Union, who it is suing in an attempt to stop its new windfall tax on oil firms.

It has accused Brussels of exceeding its legal authority, calling the measure "counter-productive" and argued, along with other players in the sector, that the tax would discourage investment.

Peter McNally, an industry analyst at Third Bridge research firm, told the BBC that Exxon's output had exceeded expectations. The firm's oil and gas production was the highest since 2019.

"The key driver was surging oil production in Canada, but profitability was dragged lower by the collapse in US natural gas prices," he said.

FTSE 100

The UK's top share index, the FTSE 100, rose by 38 points on Friday to 7,870. The London Stock Exchange is closed today.

Brent crude futures were 0.66% lower at $79.80 earlier this morning.

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