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Equinor Beats Earnings Estimates Despite Oil & Gas Price Slump

Norway’s energy major Equinor on Thursday reported adjusted earnings for the first quarter that beat the analyst consensus as increased production partly offset a decline in oil prices and a crash in natural gas prices compared to a year earlier.  

Equinor booked adjusted earnings before tax of $12 billion for the first quarter, down by 33% compared to the first quarter of 2022 but higher than the $11.2 billion expected by an analyst consensus of 26 analysts provided by the company. Adjusted earnings after tax of $3.5 billion also beat the consensus estimate of $3.15 billion, although they slid by 36% year over year.    

The earnings were down from the same quarter last year “due to lower prices for liquids and gas but partly offset by production growth,” the Norwegian major said.

Like other European majors such as BP and TotalEnergies, Equinor also reported a strong contribution to the earnings from marketing and trading.

“The Marketing, Midstream & Processing (MMP) segment contributed with earnings, well above the new and increased guided range, mainly driven by crude, products, and liquids trading,” Equinor said.

The realized price for piped natural gas to Europe averaged $18.8 per MMBtu, and realized liquids prices were $73.8 per barrel, down by 37% and 24%, respectively, compared to the first quarter of 2022.

Equinor is now the single biggest provider of natural gas to Europe after Russia’s Gazprom cut off most of its supply to the EU after the Russian invasion of Ukraine early last year.

“Gas production on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) remained high and stable, contributing to European energy security,” the Norwegian company said.

Equinor boosted oil and gas production in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period of 2022, driven by the ramp-up of new fields and wells, and fields back in production, such as Johan Sverdrup phase 2 and Snøhvit in Norway and Peregrino in Brazil.

Equinor’s earnings above estimates follow profit beats at the two U.S. supermajors, Exxon and Chevron, and UK supermajor BP.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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