So you thought bankers were rapacious? UK Continental Shelf Oilcos made profits at 4o.7% last year – but the UK manufacturers’ average was just 8.1%

Osborne….watching oilcos like a hawk?

AA Chief slams oil producers in the light of profit data

While most of the media have had a fine time glooming about the stagnant nature of British manufacturing, another release from the same source today – the Office of National Statistics (ONS) – shows just how little Continental Shelf oil companies are doing to help. Even our (largely financial) services sector can still only manage a third of the profit margins made by the exploration barons.

Motorists too – having been told time and again that tax is most of the petrol cost – will be wondering why prices are rising at the pumps so quickly…..and yet oilco’s working in the North Sea are milking what’s left of this precious energy source. So too will pensioners with oil-fired heaters, hospitals requiring heavy use of fuel, and Retirement Care Homes similarly forced to keep room temperatures high for their guests.

The data – tucked away in an ONS UK company profitability report – show that UKCS oil companies made FIVE TIMES the profit margin of the industries they are supplying. In an Britain where people are being told that “we’re all in this together”, this looks suspiciously like ‘all for us and none for you’.

Just a fortnight ago after the Budget, Chancellor George Osborne told ITV’s Daybreak Programme: “We will be watching like a hawk to make sure that motorists get the benefit of the budget changes – and make sure that there’s no funny business.” But now it looks like he closed the door long after those having a laugh had left.

Speaking to The Slog this lunchtime, AA spokesperson Luke Bosdet said, “We have been saying for years that there is a need for complete transparency in this business. People use the excuse of speculators driving up prices, but these figures refer to 2010 as a whole. Haulage contractors are going to the wall while this is going on. What we need is a specific road-fuel regulator to ensure that everything is monitored and out in the open”.

Mr Bosdet also pointed out that wholesale price profiteering is a problem. “Wholesale prices this morning are 30% higher than the peak in 2008,” he said, “but oil is still 30% cheaper than then. When someone like George Soros goes into Congress and says there are crooked things going on, it has to be true”.

The Coalition says there’s nothing it can do about this, but that simply isn’t so: the Department of Energy & Climate Change awards licences to the oilcos to produce flows from specific areas – and regulates how much they can produce over what period. Why can it not also regulate the price at which the hydrocarbons are delivered onshore? Why create more factory-gate inflation, when it is already one of our biggest problems?

‘Too much regulation already’ goes the globalist cry. But if people can’t behave with common decency, we will always need regulation.