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Equinor (NYSE: EQNR) raised its extraordinary dividend after reporting on Friday record earnings for the third quarter on the back of surging natural gas prices in Europe.
Equinor booked adjusted earnings after tax of $6.72 billion for the third quarter, more than double the earnings of $2.78 billion for the same period last year, and above analyst estimates.
Adjusted earnings before tax surged to $24.3 billion, up from $9.77 billion in the same quarter last year.
“Equinor delivered strong results from sales and trading, particularly from gas and power, selling to the markets with the highest demand,” the Norwegian major said.
Equinor increased its gas supply to Europe by 11% in the third quarter.
“High production combined with continued high price levels resulted in very strong financial results with adjusted earnings of more than 24 billion dollars before tax. The earnings enable us to continue investing in the energy transition, while building resilience in uncertain times,” Equinor’s president and CEO Anders Opedal said.
Equinor’s board decided to pay a cash dividend of $0.20 per share, and, “based on continued strong earnings in the quarter,” the board raised the extraordinary cash dividend from $0.50 per share to $0.70 per share for the third quarter 2022.
Equinor will also launch on October 31 a fourth and final tranche of $1.83 billion of the 2022 share buyback program of $6 billion.
Following the release of the results, shares in Equinor surged by more than 5% in pre-market trade in New York on Friday.
Strong results from Equinor follow similarly strong earnings from the other European majors earlier this week. Shell will lift its dividend and is launching a new share buyback program after reporting its second-highest quarterly earnings for Q3, second only to the record profit for the previous quarter. TotalEnergies, for its part, posted a record profit for the third quarter, driven by high energy prices and soaring prices of LNG as Europe scrambles to procure gas ahead of the winter.
Yet another very profitable and record-breaking quarter for Big Oil is intensifying calls for windfall taxes on energy firms and criticism from U.S. President Joe Biden, who called on oil companies – again – to lower the prices at the pump.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.