Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Special Report-How oil majors shift billions in profits to island tax havens

An oil tank truck fills the pumps at a Shell petrol station in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 31, 2019. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Tom Bergin, Ron Bousso

(Reuters) - Bermuda and the Bahamas aren’t exactly big players in the oil-and-gas world. They don’t produce any of the fuels at all. Yet the islands are deep wells of profit for European oil giant Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

In 2018 and 2019, Shell earned more than $2.7 billion - about 7% of its total income in those years - tax-free by reporting profits in companies located in Bermuda and the Bahamas that employed just 39 people and generated the bulk of their revenue from other Shell entities, company filings show.

If the oil-and-gas major had booked the profits through its headquarters in the Netherlands, it could have faced a tax bill of about $700 million based on the Dutch corporate tax rate of 25%. The bill would have been much steeper if the income were reported in oil-producing countries - some of which levy rates exceeding 80%.  Read more >>