"The Government have clearly sent the message to Shell, ‘you can do whatever you want’. Fortunately due to protest, the refinery remains unconnected to the gas field. If, as Shell planned, gas had been flowing by now, we would potentially all be dealing with a gas leak and explosion.”
Double a year ago as drivers clobbered
SOARING oil and gas prices have sent profits surging to £49million a day at SHELL.
The energy giant made a whopping £4.5billion over the three months to October — DOUBLE the same period a year ago.
Yesterday's figures come as drivers are being forced off the road by soaring petrol prices as the cost of oil hits record highs.
AA chiefs claim a quarter of motorists are cutting back.
AA president Edmund King said motorists "will not be pleased" to see oil giants making a killing.
But he insisted many now blame the Chancellor more than oil companies for the huge prices they pay at the pump.
Tax makes up 65 per cent of the average forecourt bill — the highest proportion of anywhere in Europe.
Mr King told Sun City: "We ask motorists who they blame for high fuel prices and they put the Government first.
"Duty is set to go up by another 3p to 4p per litre on January 1, but it's already having a big effect on the economy. It's vital the Government freezes duty or even cuts it. Record prices are driving motorists off the road."
Shell once again insisted it hardly made a bean at the petrol pumps.
Three-quarters of the haul came from selling the crude oil pumped out of the ground around the world.
Chief exec Peter Voser also insisted the firm's stonking results were good for Brits.
He said: "Our profits pay for Shell's substantial investments in new energy projects.
"They ensure low-cost, reliable, energy supplies for our customers and create value for our shareholders."
Experts said Shell was benefiting from its huge investment in new exploration projects in recent years.
One of the biggest boosts has come from controversial Tar Sands projects in Canada — where crude lies just below the Earth's surface.
Shell is also cashing in on the boom in gas with sales of liquefied natural gas up 12 per cent following the opening of a huge plant in Qatar.
Just hours after Shell unveiled its results, American rival EXXON went even better — posting quarterly profits of an incredible £6.4billion.
Separately the European Commission sparked a row with the UK by calling for tougher safety laws in the North Sea. Brussels said the risk of a spill remained "unacceptably high".