US oil giant posts monster profit
US oil major ExxonMobil earned $55.7 billion in profits last year, the company disclosed on Tuesday. The figure was a new high for Exxon, whose previous record was $45.2 billion in 2008, when a barrel of oil cost close to $150 – some 30% higher on average than in 2022.
According to company CEO Darren Woods, profits soared on the back of recovering post-Covid-19 demand amid energy supply constraints.
“While our results clearly benefited from a favorable market, the counter-cyclical investments we made before and during the pandemic provided the energy and products people needed as economies began recovering and supplies became tight. We leaned in when others leaned out,” Woods said.
The company’s output also grew by about 100,000 barrels of oil and gas equivalent per day (bpd) against 2021, rising to 3.8 million bpd.
Exxon’s earnings are believed to be a record high for the Western oil industry, although fellow majors BP, Chevron, Shell, and TotalEnergies have yet to post their 2022 results. According to a recent calculation by Refinitiv analysts, the five supermajors are expected to report a combined profit of nearly $200 billion for 2022 following last year’s spikes in energy prices.
However, the bumper figures have fed the debate on whether governments should further hike taxes on windfall profits for the sector as consumers suffer high energy prices. Shell recently said its extra tax from windfall levies in Europe and the UK for 2022 is estimated at around $2.4 billion. TotalEnergies reported earlier this month that windfall taxes cost the company at least $2 billion in the fourth quarter.
Exxon said its fourth-quarter earnings fell short by $1.3 billion due to the EU’s windfall tax and asset impairments. The company is suing the bloc in a bid to scrap the levy, arguing that Brussels exceeded its legal authority by imposing it.
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