PARIS (AP) — France’s TotalEnergies SE doubled its profits in 2022, joining other international oil and gas companies in fattening their bottom lines as high energy prices surged after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Adjusted net income rose to $36.2 billion, up from $18.1 billion in 2021, the company said Wednesday. Earnings benefited from robust refinery use that let the company capture high profits for turning crude into other fuel products.
The figures looked different under international accounting rules that included write-offs on Total’s assets in Russia, where doing business has been severely complicated by Western sanctions over the war. Under IFRS accounting standards, net profit was $20.5 billion, lower than the adjusted profit figure because it included $15 billion in write-offs on its Russian businesses.
Big oil company profits have led to calls for governments to tax more of those gains as households and businesses face higher utility bills. Energy giants Shell, BP and Exxon also have recently reported record earnings, triggering demands that the fossil fuel industry do more to offset high energy bills as well as cut climate-damaging carbon emissions.
Activists from groups Friends of the Earth and Alternatiba splattered red paint on the entrance to TotalEnergies’ towering headquarters Wednesday in the Paris suburb of La Defense. They posted images of themselves reading “Superprofits — You’re cashing in, we’re suffering” and accused the company of “climate-killing and criminal activities.”
Oil prices surged to over $120 last year on fears of lost Russian supply as Western buyers turned away from Moscow’s crude amid the war in Ukraine. Crude prices have eased lately amid global economic slowdowns and because less Russian oil has been lost to the market than originally feared.
Natural gas prices also surged to record highs in Europe as Russia largely cut supplies to the continent. While they have since fallen, they are three times higher than before Russia massed troops on the border of Ukraine.
TotalEnergies said in its earnings release that it paid $33 billion in taxes during 2022, most of it to countries where it produces oil and natural gas.
The company’s board of directors proposed to increase its dividend to shareholders for 2022 by 6.5%, to 2.81 euros ($3.02) per share, plus the special dividend of 1 euro per share paid out in December.