Exxon Mobil made £5.4m per hour last year with record £47.9bn profits
Exxon Mobil Corp (Exxon) posted $59bn (£47.9bn) in adjusted profit for 2022 in its results today, taking home more than $6.7m (£5.4m) per hour last year.
The fossil fuel trader set not only a company record but a historic high for the Western oil industry.
Oil majors are expected to break their own annual records on high prices and soaring demand, pushing their combined take to near $200bn.
The scale has renewed criticism of the oil industry and sparked calls for more countries to levy windfall profit taxes on the companies.
Exxon’s results far exceeded the then-record $45.2bn net profit it reported in 2008, when oil hit $142 per barrel, 30 per cent above last year’s average price.
Deep cost cuts during the pandemic helped supercharge last year’s earnings.
“Overall earnings and cashflow were up pretty significantly year on year,” Exxon Chief Financial Officer Kathryn Mikells told news agency Reuters.
“So that came really from a combination of strong markets, strong throughput, strong production, and really good cost control.”
Exxon said it incurred a $1.3bn hit to its fourth quarter earnings from a European Union windfall tax that began in the final quarter and from asset impairments.
The company is suing the EU, arguing the levy exceeds its legal authority.
The results may set up another confrontation with the White House. On Friday, President Joe Biden’s administration blasted oil firms for pouring cash into shareholder payouts rather than production.
Exxon boasted its cash flow from operations soared to $76.8bn last year, up from $48.1bn in 2021.
Windfall profit taxes are “unlawful and bad policy,” countered Mikells. Slapping new taxes on oil earnings “has the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve,” she said, adding it would discourage new oil and gas production.
Exxon posted $14bn in fourth quarter profit excluding charges, 60 per cent more than the same period last year but down almost 25 per cent from the previous quarter as oil prices eased and some operations suffered from cold-weather related outages.
Adjusted fourth quarter per share profit was $3.09 per share, below the $3.32 per share forecast by Zacks Financial.
Exxon’s spending on new oil and gas projects bounced back last year to $22.7bn, up 37 per cent from the prior year.
The company increased outlays on discoveries in Guyana, in the top U.S. shale field, and on fuel refining and chemicals.
“The counter-cyclical investments we made before and during the pandemic provided the energy and products people needed as economies began recovering,” said Exxon chief executive officer Darren Woods in a statement.
Its results come ahead of what are expected to be strong earnings from Shell on Thursday and from BP plc and Total Energies next week.
Reuters – Sabrina Valle.