Starting immediately, Galp’s operating results in 2022 amounted to €3.85 billion and the company made a net profit of €881 million in the oil and gas sector. When we think about the cost of living crisis in Portugal and Europe, it has a trigger, which has pushed prices up, a factor that has sustained inflation and that has had an impact anytime from 2021: gas and oil prices . It is these same absurd prices that have generated the biggest profits ever in oil company history. In 2022.
When we take to the streets in protest against the rising cost of living, across all but every sector – either because of a lack of wages keeping pace with inflation, or because of the tragedy of increases in house prices that were already unaffordable, due to transport , every shopping trip – we must know where to assign the responsibility for what happens to us, and it is the mineral industry, of all and without nationalities, without a homeland beyond that of absolute exploitation. The Russian military’s invasion of Ukraine worsened the situation, but did not trigger it.
When we protest the obscene profits of Jerónimo Martins, Montepio, SONAE or the Navigator Company, when we consider the generalized increases in rents, we must recognize the inherent opportunism of these companies and landlords, who, in addition to the inflation already existed, they chose to reward themselves without limits, given the weakness of states that surrendered to markets as divine entities. But they could only do it because of the oil companies. They could only hoard and speculate on the war landscape because we live in economies that have been deliberately addicted to fossil fuels.
We must also recognize how this cost-of-living crisis was then multiplied by the orthodoxy of economic liberalism, which dismisses any social or environmental reality with the imaginary rules of the “academy” of neoliberal economics. Political decision-making has been handed over to the technocracy of central banks, “independent” of democracy and society, independent of control and safely and shielded from the consequences of their decisions. The decision of these banks was to raise interest rates and make all loans more expensive. In a society with terrible wages and therefore deep debt, this means only one thing: more poverty. It means more expensive loans, more expensive rents, it means less money with less money.
So we pay for the profits of companies like Galp in at least five ways:
Direct increase in electricity and natural gas costs.
In most basic necessities (especially food).
In wage compression (where there were wage increases, they were always below inflation).
On tax cuts to fuel and mineral and energy companies.
No increase in interest rates.
But we are far from this being the end of the problem. It is actually the sub issue of the problem.
The February 13 release of the biggest gains in Galp’s history coincides with the publication of the Catholic Church’s report on child sexual abuse in Portugal, which promises to generate all the outrage and revulsion it deserves. The revelation on this date succeeds in overshadowing all the outrage and disgust that should be raised against Galp’s historic crime.
Words will always be few given the sheer volume of historical events and happenings we are experiencing. In 2022, the world record for greenhouse gas emissions was broken again and it was also the hottest year on record in Europe, with the worst drought in 500 years on the continent, while China experienced its worst ever drought. We are heading dangerously towards the abyss, and we continue to accelerate. It is the work of Galp and the oil companies that is causing the climate crisis. The ones who push us and keep us on the edge of the abyss are companies like Galp and the governments that obey them.
The existence of companies like Galp, in 2022, is itself a crime. Its continued existence, expansion and operation are crimes far beyond the unspeakable sex crimes of the Catholic Church. Companies like Galp are killing the future of all generations, murdering culture.
These crimes must stop.