Big Three Oil Firms Made a Record $132B Profit in 2022
British energy giant Shell posted a record $42 billion in profits last year, more than double the amount it achieved in 2021. With this, the three major energy companies, including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Shell, delivered more than $132 billion in combined profits last year, courtesy of skyrocketing oil and gas prices.
Shell Posts Record $41.6B in Profit
Shell became the latest energy company to post a record annual profit last year. The oil giant registered a $41.6 billion full-year profit, which exceeded its previous record of $31.4 billion in 2008, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Shell’s earnings included a fourth-quarter profit of $11.4 billion, up slightly from $11.2 billion a year earlier. Adjusted fourth-quarter earnings, which strip out certain commodity price adjustments and one-time charges, stood at $9.8 billion, beating expectations of $8 billion for the quarter, per the WSJ report.
Notably, 60% of Shell’s earnings came from the division that encompasses Shell’s massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) business. The dominance of that business underscores a major advantage that companies like Shell have in matching buyers and sellers across the globe in times of energy scarcity.
Following the record earnings, Shell said it would return $4 billion to shareholders and lift its dividend. In a statement, new chief executive Wael Sawan said:
“Our results in the fourth quarter and across the full year demonstrate the strength of Shell’s differentiated portfolio, as well as our capacity to deliver vital energy to our customers in a volatile world.”
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Oil Companies Erase Covid Losses With Record Profits
Aside from Shell, other energy companies, including Chevron and Exxon Mobil, have also posted historic results. Chevron has posted a record $36.5 billion profit for 2022, while Exxon Mobil has reaped a record $56 billion profit. The three major energy companies delivered more than $132 billion in combined profit last year.
The record profit came from soaring energy prices, which started rising as countries left or reduced lockdowns and other measures starting in late 2021. This development was aggravated in early 2022 by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which sent demand for oil and gas through the roof.
Meanwhile, the recent gains have helped erase billions of dollars in losses that the energy giants incurred during Covid lockdowns. However, the haul has provoked political and consumer outrage as governments and companies struggle with sky-high energy prices.
In an earnings preview last month, Shell said it expects to pay around $2 billion more in European Union and U.K. energy-profit levies — a measure that governments have adopted to help businesses and consumers cope with soaring energy costs. “That is on top of $360 million in anticipated windfall taxes that were previously disclosed,” the WSJ report said, adding:
“Mr. Sawan will have to contend with that societal backlash and the bigger existential question facing the oil-and-gas industry: How to balance the world’s thirst for oil and gas while pushing further into lower-carbon energy like clean-burning hydrogen, solar and wind power?”
In a groundbreaking judgment in 2021, a Dutch court ruled that Shell was partially responsible for climate change and ordered the company to reduce its carbon emissions. At the time, the court ordered that by 2030 the oil giant Shell must reduce its CO2 global emissions by 45% compared to 2019 levels.
Do you think energy companies are on track to post massive profits this year too? Let us know in the comments below.