Chevron reported a record full-year profit of $36.5 billion, buoyed by high oil prices.
Adjusted earnings for the year more than doubled from the $15.6 billion Chevron earned in 2021 and up 36% from its previous record profit set in 2011.
The oil company’s fourth-quarter earnings came in at $7.9 billion, up 61% from a year earlier but less than the record quarterly income of $11.4 billion it reported for the second quarter.
The fourth quarter earnings per share of $4.09 fell short of the forecast of $4.38 a share from analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. But revenue in the quarter of $56.5 billion topped forecasts by nearly $2 billion and was up 17% from a year earlier.
Full-year revenue of $246.3 billion was up 52% from 2021.
Shares of Chevron (CVX) were down slightly more than 1% in premarket trading.
Ahead of Friday’s report Chevron, the nation’s second largest oil company, behind only ExxonMobil, had announced it was hiking its dividend by 6% along with a massive $75 billion share repurchase plan. The decision brought criticism from those who said oil companies should be investing their money in producing more oil and gasoline to increase supply and drive down prices for inflation-weary drivers.
“For a company that claimed not too long ago that it was ‘working hard’ to increase oil production, handing out $75 billion to executives and wealthy shareholders sure is an odd way to show it,” said Abdullah Hasan, assistant press secretary at the White House, in a tweet Wednesday evening after the share repurchase was announced.
Chevron said Friday its investments in operations increased by more than 75% from 2021, and annual US production increased to the equivalent of 1.2 million barrels of oil a day.
The amount it spent on capital spending and exploration in 2022 was $12.3 billion, up 43% compared with $8.6 billion spent in 2021, but only slightly more than the $11 billion it spent on dividends or the $11.3 billion on share repurchases during the year.
The record profit came primarily from the soaring oil prices during the year, not its increased production.
Chevron and other major oil companies all benefited from the spike in oil and gasoline prices during 2022, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While Russia, one of the world’s leading oil exporters, sent relatively little oil to the United States, sanctions placed on Russia following the invasion roiled global commodity prices which set the price of oil.
Futures for a barrel of Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, hit a record of $123.58 close in early June, up more than 50% from six months earlier ahead of the war, and the average price of a gallon of regular gas in the United States broke the $5 mark a week later to reach a record $5.03.
But oil and gas prices have fallen substantially since then. Brent closed Thursday at $87.47, slightly below the year-earlier level, while the average price of a gallon of regular gas stands at $3.51 a gallon, only slightly higher from the $3.35 average of a year ago.
But prices have started to rise once again, partly because Covid lockdown rules in China have been lifted. Traders believe that’s a bullish sign for global demand for oil and gasoline. Refinery problems caused by winter weather are also pushing prices higher.
The average US price of a gallon of regular gasoline is up nearly 12 cents in just the last week and up 41 cents, or 13%, in the last month. Brent oil is up 12% in the last three weeks.