When major oil companies announced record earnings in February, even US President Joe Biden was appalled. The White House said it was “outrageous” that ExxonMobil had raked in a profit of $56 billion (€51 billion) in 2022 as consumers were grappling with inflation rates not seen in decades.

Top policymakers in Europe have also weighed in on the issue, imposing windfall taxes on energy firms. Even though price pressures have eased lately from their record levels, the eurozone is still reeling from elevated inflation levels. Consumer prices in the common currency area rose 6.9% in March from a year earlier, keeping inflation at more than three times the European Central Bank’s target of 2%.

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