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TotalEnergies Reports Record $21.4bn Profit Despite Energy Price Challenges

PARIS – French energy conglomerate TotalEnergies announced on Wednesday its highest-ever profit for 2023, buoyed by strong performances in its liquefied natural gas and electricity divisions.

TotalEnergies reported a net profit of $21.4 billion, marking a four percent increase from the previous year. The company’s robust financial results surpassed those of global competitors such as Shell, BP, Exxon-Mobil, and Chevron, all of which reported lower earnings amidst weaker energy prices.

However, TotalEnergies’ 2022 net profit had been impacted by a significant, exceptional charge of $15 billion related to its withdrawal from Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Once non-recurring items were excluded, adjusted net profit experienced a sharp decline of 36 percent to $23.2 billion.

Chairman Patrick Pouyanne described the results as “robust,” attributing them to strong performances in hydrocarbons despite operating in an uncertain environment.

Despite the positive figures, TotalEnergies’ 2023 net profit fell short of financial analysts’ forecasts, who had anticipated figures of up to $23.7 billion. The company’s share price dropped approximately 1.5 percent in early trading on the Paris stock exchange in response.

TotalEnergies has faced criticism from environmental groups for its continued investment in fossil fuels, despite efforts to diversify towards low-carbon electricity production. The company’s plans for controversial projects in Uganda and Tanzania have drawn particular scrutiny.

These projects include the Tilenga drilling project in Uganda, targeting oil reserves under the Murchison Falls nature reserve, and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in Tanzania. Despite concerns raised by local communities and environmentalists, TotalEnergies has pushed forward with drilling activities, with production slated to commence in 2025.

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TotalEnergies has defended its investment in such projects, citing the need to meet global energy demand. The company has also emphasised its efforts to transition to low-carbon production, particularly in solar and wind energy.

In a move to appease shareholders, TotalEnergies proposed a 7.1 percent increase in its annual dividend payout.

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