Equinor Beats Forecasts with $8.68B in Profits in Q4 2023

Equinor Beats Forecasts with $8.68B in Profits in Q4 2023

Equinor, a Norwegian energy group, has reported a slightly higher-than-expected operating profit for the final quarter of 2023. The company’s adjusted earnings before tax for October–December fell to $8.68 billion, beating the $8.46 billion predicted by analysts.

The company’s full year adjusted earnings for 2023 totaled $36.2 billion, down from a record $76.9 billion in 2022.

Equinor also announced that it would be cutting its overall payments to shareholders in 2024 to $14 billion from $17 billion in 2023.

“We expect to grow our cash flow and sustain competitive returns. We are extending the outlook for a stable contribution from oil and gas to 2035,” said Chief Executive Anders Opedal.

Equinor’s combined oil and gas output grew by 2.1% in 2023, exceeding their previous guidance of 1.5% growth, which was driven by strong production at the Johan Sverdrup field, the largest in the North Sea, and new wells in production, according to Equinor’s statement on Wednesday.

The production increase was also driven by contributions from the international portfolio, with Brazil’s Peregrino field reaching plateau production and strong performance from US offshore assets.

Equinor also reported that their production would remain unchanged in 2024 but would see a 5% increase by 2026. However, it is expected to decline towards 2030 to around 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. The company’s domestic Norwegian unit has set a target of pumping 1.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2035, down from 1.37 million in 2023.

In terms of dividends, Equinor raised its ordinary quarterly dividend payment to $0.35 per share from $0.30. However, their extraordinary cash dividend will be reduced to $0.35 per quarter from $0.60. The company also plans to spend $6 billion on share buybacks in 2024, equal to $203 billion in 2023, and between $4 billion and $6 billion in 2025.

Equinor’s Marketing, Midstream, and Processing (MMP) unit, which includes refining, reported a profit of $424 million for the quarter. This was lower than analysts’ expectations of $461 million, as weak margins affected earnings.

In 2022, Equinor overtook Russia’s Gazprom as Europe’s biggest supplier of natural gas due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Equinor’s share price has risen 4.8% in the last 12 months, slightly ahead of the 3.7% rise in the European oil and gas sector.

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