Shell logo at a petrol station in London on March 8, 2022.
London – The major Western oil companies reported a combined profit of USD 219 billion (CZK 4.9 trillion) last year, which was more than double compared to the previous year. The result was a record high due to high energy prices. Companies also plan to pay high dividends, Reuters reported.
Surge in profit has given oil companies room to increase spending on oil and gas projects. Some of them have also begun to rethink their energy transition strategies to meet new security of supply requirements.
The combined record profit also allowed BP, Chevron, Equinor, Exxon Mobil, Shell and TotalEnergies to shower shareholders with cash. The largest Western oil companies paid out a record 110 billion USD in dividends and share buybacks last year. This has prompted calls for governments to impose windfall taxes on the industry to help consumers with rising energy costs.
Surge in oil and gas prices, falling debt and a sharp drop in Russian supplies to Europe have also prompted firms to increase spending on fossil fuel extraction as governments prioritize security of supply. European companies, which have already unveiled plans to reduce or slow investment in oil and gas production and to build large-scale activities in renewable energy and low-carbon technologies, have adjusted their strategies.
This change is most visible in the UK of BP. It backed away from plans to reduce oil and gas production and carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
“We need energy with lower carbon dioxide emissions, but we also need secure energy and we need affordable energy. And that's what governments and companies around the world are asking for,” BP boss Bernard Looney said.