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Equinor Beats Q1 Earnings Expectations as Oil and Gas Output Jumps

Equinor (NYSE: EQNR) reported on Thursday consensus-beating earnings for the first quarter of 2024, driven by higher production in Norway and rising oil prices.

The Norwegian energy major booked an adjusted net income of $2.84 billion for Q1, down by 27% on the year due to lower natural gas prices in Europe this year. But the result beat the company-provided analysis consensus forecast of $2.04 billion.    

Adjusted pre-tax operating income of $7.53 billion also fell year-over-year, by 37%, but again beat the consensus estimate of $7.2 billion.

Lower gas prices reduced the earnings compared to the same period of 2023, but the drop was partially offset by Equinor’s production growth and increased liquids prices, the company said.

Equinor’s realized price for piped gas to Europe – to which the Norwegian major is now the single largest supplier – slumped by 50%, while the realized average liquids price was down by 3% compared to the first quarter of 2023.

Equinor’s production rose to 2.164 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter of 2024, up from 2.130 million boepd in the same quarter last year. The growth was driven by increased capacity at the giant Johan Sverdrup oilfield, the ramp-up of the Breidablikk oilfield, and new wells placed on stream offshore Norway. The Vito field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the Buzzard field in the UK, and new wells in Angola contributed to 3% production growth internationally.

“Production on the Norwegian continental shelf was high, and the international portfolio contributed with solid production growth,” Equinor president and CEO, Anders Opedal, said in a statement.

“We continue with significant capital distribution and expect to deliver a total distribution of 14 billion dollars in 2024.”

The $14 billion distribution will include a share buy-back program of up to $6 billion. Equinor’s board has decided to initiate a second tranche of the share buy-back program of up to $1.6 billion, subject to authorization from the company’s annual general meeting on May 14.

Earlier this week, another European major, Italy’s Eni, said it was boosting its 2024 share buybacks to $1.7 billion (1.6 billion euros), up by 45% compared to the guidance provided last month.   

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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