Equinor (NYSE: EQNR) more than doubled its extraordinary cash dividend and increased its share repurchase program by $1 billion after reporting on Wednesday more than tripled adjusted earnings after tax for the second quarter amid soaring oil and gas prices.
Analysts have been anticipating robust Q2 earnings from the international oil and gas majors as fuel prices surged, refining margins soared to multi-year highs, and natural gas prices hit records after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Opening the earnings season of the European majors, Norway’s Equinor said today that its adjusted earnings after tax jumped to $5 billion for the second quarter of 2022, more than triple the earnings of the same period last year at $1.58 billion. Adjusted earnings before tax surged to $17.6 billion, up from $4.64 billion—beating the $16.855 billion analyst consensus.
Equinor boosted its gas production in Norway by 18 percent and optimized production to deliver more gas to Europe, the company said.
In total, the Norwegian Continental Shelf—where Equinor is the biggest operator—meets 20-25% of the gas demand in the EU and the UK.
“Equinor continues to provide high gas production from the NCS, including volumes from Hammerfest LNG, now safely back in production. Solid operational performance and high production combined with high prices resulted in strong financial results with adjusted earnings of more than 17 billion dollars before tax,” said president and CEO Anders Opedal.
Following the hearty quarterly results, Equinor is stepping up capital distribution, raising extraordinary cash dividend to $0.50 per share for the second and third quarters of 2022, up from $0.20.
This is on top of the regular cash dividend of $0.20 per share for Q2, which remains unchanged.
Due to the strength of the balance sheet, Brent prices, and other commodity prices, Equinor’s board of directors has also decided to initiate a third tranche of share buybacks of $1.83 billion and increase the 2022 share repurchase program from previously communicated up to $5 billion to up to $6 billion.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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