Woodside Energy Group (Woodside) has handed out £1.79bn ($2.1bn) to shareholders following a five-fold increase in profits for the first six months of trading this year.
The Australian gas producer unveiled an interim dividend of $1.09 per share, providing shareholders $2.1bn, more than triple last year’s pay-out and topping analysts’ forecasts.
It comes amid monster earnings for the company, which have been powered by booming oil and gas prices and its takeover of BHP Group’s petroleum arm.
Woodside posted an underlying net profit after tax of $1.82bn for the six months to June 30, up from $354m 12 months prior.
The result beat analysts’ estimates of around $1.49 billion, according to Visible Alpha.
Oil and gas prices have spiked amid a Russian squeeze on gas supplies in retaliation to Western sanctions after its invasion of Ukraine.
This has forced gas buyers from Asia and Europe to seek alternative suppliers in what was already a tight market.
Woodside now among the world’s top 10 independent oil and gas producers, following its recent merger with BHP’s petroleum arm.
It now owns 100 per cent of the $5.6bn Scarborough gas project, its biggest growth project, where it has been looking to sell a stake on and off for more than 18 months.
The company confirmed to news agency Reuters that it is in talks with ‘high quality’ companies looking to buy a stake in Scarborough.
However, Chief Executive Meg O’Neill confirmed she would only sell a stake for the right price.
She said: “We’re not going to fire sale this critical asset.”
The energy boss also confirmed Woodside has begun a strategic review of all the assets in the enlarged business to map out its next growth project.
This could include new energy, alongside Browse and Greater Sunrise gas off northwest Australia.
Earlier this year, the company secured a London listing, where shares are up 2.8 per cent following the results this morning.