Each of the world’s biggest oil and gas majors reported record profits for 2022 in the past week, doubling their combined net earnings from 2021 and booking the best-ever year for Big Oil.
Combined, the net profits of Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell, Equinor, and
TotalEnergies surged to $219 billion for 2022, up from around $100 billion booked for 2021, as oil and gas prices surged following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and majors raised oil and gas production to meet growing demand for oil and limited gas supply from Russia to Europe.
Most majors also raised their shareholder distributions, including by increasing dividends and buybacks, much to the resentment of the White House and other governments, while households struggled with energy bills. The UK and the EU already slapped windfall taxes on the industry in 2022, while U.S. President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address that share repurchase taxes should be quadrupled to punish Big Oil for their “outrageous” profits.
Big Oil returned as much as $110 billion in dividends and share repurchases to investors last year, according to estimates by Reuters’s Ron Bousso.
Capital discipline and high – and often volatile – oil and gas prices last year resulted in Big Oil earning the highest-ever profits, higher even than in 2008, when oil prices hit an all-time high.
Over the past two weeks, Chevron reported its highest annual profit ever as its adjusted earnings more than doubled to $36.5 billion on the back of higher oil and gas prices and record U.S. production. ExxonMobil booked $55.7 billion in earnings for 2022 in a record-breaking earnings tally for any Western oil supermajor ever. BP more than doubled its profit to $27.65 billion, and Shell saw its adjusted earnings at $39.9 billion for 2022, double the earnings from 2021.
TotalEnergies saw its net profit double in 2022 to a record $36.2 billion and announced an increase in dividends and share repurchases. Equinor reported adjusted earnings after tax of $22.7 billion for 2022, more than double the $10 billion earnings booked in 2021, and raised dividends and buybacks.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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