The tensions of an economy that is still highly dependent on fossil fuel, aggravated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ravages of climate change, have led the large listed oil companies to double profits and close a record 2022, which has placed them in the focus of public opinion.
In the absence of knowing how Saudi Aramco, the largest listed oil company in the world, ended the year, the main companies in the sector obtained a joint net profit of more than 200,000 million dollars (about 186,000 million euros), double that of the year above.
These returns have ignited the debate in the social and political spheres, even the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has charged against the resurgence of fossil fuels and their “monstrous benefits”.
“It is scandalous,” US President Joe Biden said this week, criticizing that these giants had given priority to monetary rewards for executives and shareholders instead of investing in increasing national production and keeping gasoline prices low.
His tone surprised a country that has four companies in the group of ten oil majors: ExxonMobil, based in Irving, Texas; Chevron Corporation (San Ramon, California); NextEra Energy (Juno Beach, Florida); and ConocoPhillips (Houston, Texas).
Leave the businesses in Russia
The year 2022 will go down in the history of ExxonMobil for its bulky numbers, with 55,740 million dollars (52,000 million euros) of profit, 142% more, despite the deterioration caused by the interruption of its operations on the Sakhalin platform (Russia).
The war in Ukraine has, however, left its mark on the financial statements of oil companies that, like ExxonMobil, abandoned business in Russia in response to military aggression.
For this reason, some have supplemented them with formulas outside of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP in the jargon), such as the underlying profit, which eliminates unusual and non-recurring costs, to offer investors a picture of performance more in line with the reality of their day-to-day.
This is the case of the British BP, which estimated it at 27,653 million dollars (close to 26,000 million euros), after discounting the effect of its departure from the Russian Rosneft and other extraordinary charges. However, if they are taken into account, their results conclude with net losses of 2,487 million dollars.
Shell, the best result in 115 years
Exposure to Russia did not worry Shell, which, exalted by its gas and derivatives business, sealed the best year in 115 years of history thanks to earnings of 42,309 million dollars (39,500 million euros), 110% more.
In a similar vein, Chevron, the second largest oil producer in the United States, increased net profit by 127%, to 35,465 million dollars (33,100 million euros). Without taking into account non-recurring events and currency fluctuations, his earnings would have been 36.542 million dollars (34.100 million euros).
Equinor, the main energy company in Norway – a large gas supplier to the Old Continent – confirmed its state of grace with net profits of 28,744 million dollars (26,800 million euros) in 2022, 235% more.
A year of maximums also in the French giant TotalEnergies, with a profit of 20,526 million dollars (19,200 million euros), 28% more, even with the provisions for its business in Russia.
The Texan ConocoPhillips also improved its annual net result, which went from 8,079 million dollars (7,520 million euros) in 2021 to 18,680 million (17,400 million euros), 131% more.
The panorama will be completed on March 12, when Aramco publishes its results, which are on track to be the largest since until the third quarter of 2022 the Saudi state oil company accumulated a net profit of 130,342 million, 68% more than year before.
The Spanish oil companies Repsol and Cepsa will present results in a few days.
In the case of Repsol, with a broad presence in Latin America, the company obtained a net profit of 3,222 million euros (about 3,460 million dollars) up to September, 66% more than in the same period of the previous year.
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