RIYADH: Oil prices were broadly steady on Thursday as the prospect of higher fuel demand in China as it reopens post-COVID curbs was offset by fears that US crude stocks hitting their highest for months may signal weakening demand in the world’s No. 1 economy.
Brent crude futures gained 06 cents to $85.15 a barrel at 08.35 a.m. Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures went up 2 cents to $78.49 a barrel. Both benchmarks have gained more than 6 percent so far this week.
TotalEnergies net profits double to record $36.2 billion in 2022
French oil major TotalEnergies posted a record net profit of $36.2 billion in 2022, double the previous year, joining in the sector’s bumper earnings thanks to higher oil and gas prices since Russia invaded Ukraine.
TotalEnergies’ fourth-quarter adjusted net income was $7.6 billion, including a $4.1 billion impairment related to the deconsolidation of its stake in Russian gas firm Novatek.
The net income for the last three months of the year was in line with analyst estimates in a consensus by Refinitiv and compared with $6.8 billion a year earlier, and $9.9 billion in the third quarter of 2022.
The blockbuster profit follows similar reports from rivals BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil and Chevron, prompting new calls to further tax the sector as households struggle to pay energy bills.
TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne told reporters the global backdrop remained very favorable for energy companies, with the relaxing of COVID-19 measures in China pushing up demand.
TotalEnergies said it would propose a dividend of 2.81 euros per share, up 6.4 percent from a year earlier and on top of an already announced 1 euro per share special payout.
As previously announced, it booked a $1.7 billion provision for extraordinary windfall taxes levied in the EU and Britain in the fourth quarter.
The company said it expected net investments of $16-18 billion in 2023, including $5 billion for low-carbon energy.
APA strikes oil off Suriname coast
US oil producer APA Corp. said on Wednesday that it had found oil after drilling Sapakara South-2 appraisal well in Block 58, offshore Suriname.
Exploration, off the South American country’s coast, has been watched closely as it is just over the border from massive oil discoveries made by an Exxon Mobil Corp.-led consortium in Guyana that is estimated to hold nearly 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
The well is located about 4.6 km south of the Sapakara South-1 appraisal well, where APA found oil in 2021.
The company had in November wound up drilling operations at the Awari well in Block 58 as it was “deemed noncommercial.”
TotalEnergies operates Block 58, with a 50 percent working interest, while APA holds the other half.
(With input from Reuters)