Total profits as French energy giant joins rivals with record £29.9bn earnings
Oil and gas major Total Energies has joined the profits party alongside its rivals, posting record full-year earnings of £29.9bn ($36.2bn).
The French energy giant’s bumper profits have been fuelled by soaring oil and gas prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Total Energies’ fourth-quarter adjusted net income was $7.6bn, including a $4.1bn impairment from the exclusion of its stake in Russian gas firm Novatek.
This compares with $6.8bn a year earlier, and $9.9bn in the third quarter of 2022.
The company is projecting net investments of $16-18bn in 2023, including $5bn for low-carbon energy.
Shareholders will trouser dividends of €2.81 per share, up 6.4 per cent from a year earlier and on top of a €1 per share special payout.
Total’s earnings intensify windfall tax calls
Its robust profits follows similar reports from European rivals BP, Equinor and Shell alongside Stateside operators such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron.
However, energy giants are facing intensifying calls for the windfall tax to be toughened, with Labour calling for the investment relief to be ditched from the domestic Energy Profits Levy (EPL).
Ed Miliband, Labour’s Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Secretary, said: “It’s yet another day of enormous profits at an energy giant, the windfalls of war, coming directly out of the pockets of the British people. What is so outrageous is that as fossil fuel companies rake in these enormous sums, [the Prime minister] Rishi Sunak still refuses to bring in a proper windfall tax that would make them pay their fair share.”
Total has booked a $1.7bn provision for extraordinary windfall taxes levied in the European Union and UK in the fourth quarter.
Recently, it pulled out of a £100m investment in the North Sea after the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, hiked the Energy Profits Levy from 25 to 35 per cent and extended its duration from three to six years.
At the time, Jean-Luc Guiziou, UK Country Chair said: “Following another change to the fiscal environment for energy investors in the UK, we are now evaluating the impact of this change on our current and planned projects.
“We note that without a price floor to the Energy Profits Levy, the current regime will affect short-cycle investments, in particular infill wells. For 2023 alone, our investments will be cut by 25 per cent.”