Exxon Mobil posted a $56 billion profit for 2022, the company said on Tuesday, and setting not only a company record but a historic high for the western oil industry. Despite that ExxonMobil’s earnings slowed from a peak earlier in the year, the oil giant still reached a full-year record profit more than double what it reported a year ago.
Oil majors are expected to break their own annual records on high prices and soaring demand, pushing their combined profits to near $200 billion.
Exxon’s results far exceeded the then record $45.2 billion net profit it reported in 2008, when oil hit $142 a barrel, 30% above last year’s average price. Cost cuts during the pandemic helped supercharge last year’s earnings.
“Overall earnings and cashflow were up pretty significantly year on year,” Exxon’s chief financial officer, Kathryn Mikells, told Reuters. “So that came really from a combination of strong markets, strong throughput, strong production and really good cost control.”
Exxon said it incurred a $1.3 billion hit to its fourth-quarter earnings from a EU windfall tax that began in the final quarter and from asset impairments. The company is suing the EU, arguing that the levy exceeds EU’s legal authority.
Excluding charges, profit for the full year was $59.1 billion. Production increased by about 100,000 barrels of oil and gas a day over a year ago to 3.8 million barrels a day.
Oil companies such as ExxonMobil have faced criticism from the White House and some members of Congress for taking much of the profit and using it to increase dividend and repurchase shares, rather than increase production.
CEO Darren Woods defended the company’s investments in production, saying the company’s North American refineries had their biggest output ever, and that it had its highest global refinery production since 2012.
“We engage with the management, with Elon in terms of the plan that he has for the company, and we believe in this, and we trust his leadership in terms of turning around the company,” CEO Mansoor Al Mahmoud said in a Bloomberg Television interview at Davos on Monday.
The executive said the QIA hasn’t asked the Twitter chief to cut back on tweeting, saying that the fund isn’t involved “to that extent.”
The QIA helped finance the acquisition of Twitter, contributing $375 million to the $44 billion deal. The acquisition has triggered an exodus of employees as Elon Musk looks to cut costs, raising concerns about whether Twitter can sustain its operations and regulate content.
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