SHELL has almost tripled first quarter profits as the company feels the benefit of the surge in oil and gas prices that has left consumers facing huge increases in their energy bills.

The company made $9.1billion (£7.3bn) underlying profit in the three months to March 31 against $3.2bn in the same period last year.

The profit was the highest Shell has achieved in a quarter for 14 years.

The increase in profits will fuel calls for the Government to impose a windfall tax on firms operating in the North Sea.

Greenpeace UK’s oil and gas campaigner, Philip Evans, said:

“A windfall tax on these unexpected record profits of unimaginable sums would be the fastest and fairest way to ease pressure on households feeling the pinch and reduce our dependence on oil and gas."

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“While millions of households struggle with soaring bills, oil and gas companies are having a bonanza.

“The likes of Shell and BP are treating the British public like a giant cash machine.

“The government must act now. The case for a windfall tax has become unanswerable.”

Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said: “Generating value through strong earnings and cash flow, coupled with maintaining a healthy balance sheet and continuing the disciplined delivery of our strategy, are crucial for Shell to play a leading role in the energy transition.”