Oil major Shell said it recorded an impressive $40 billion profit in 2022, ending the year marked by a war in Europe and a return of natural gas with an unprecedented return to investors.
The British oil giant on Thursday issued its fourth quarter financial report posting $9.8 billion in profit in the period boosted by natural gas earning which beat analysts expectations.
Profits recorded in 2022 was twice its earnings in the previous year and the company says it will consolidate on the gains.
“Our results in Q4 and across the full year demonstrate the strength of Shell’s differentiated portfolio, as well as our capacity to deliver vital energy to our customers in a volatile world,” said Wael Sawan, Shell plc Chief Executive Officer.
Sawan also said: “We intend to remain disciplined while delivering compelling shareholder returns, as demonstrated by the 15 percent dividend increase and the $4 billion share buyback programme announced today.”
The gains were driven by higher oil and gas prices, robust refining margins and a strong performance from Shell’s trading business.
Earnings from its LNG division reached $6 billion, a record high, boosted by strong overall trading earnings on the back the gas price volatility, despite recording a loss in the third quarter and a sharp drop in liquefaction volumes due to outages at LNG facilities.
As noted by its CEO, Shell boosted its dividend by 15 percent in the fourth quarter, the fifth increase since it delivered a more than 60 percent cut in the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
The company also announced a new $4 billion share buyback programme over the next three months, unchanged from the previous three. It bought back $19 billion in shares in the year to February 2023, nearly double the total in pre-pandemic 2019.
The profits helped Shell and many other Western energy companies mask huge writedowns they took on Russian assets they abruptly exited after the conflict broke out.