ExxonMobil lived in 2022 the most profitable year in its long and eventful history, which dates back to the Standard Oil of the legendary John Rockefeller.
The current company is the result of the merger in 1999 of Exxon and Mobil, heirs to two of the 34 companies in which that monopoly was broken by a decision of the Supreme Court of 1911. According to the results published this Tuesday, ExxonMobil earned 55.740 million dollars in 2022 (about 51,440 million euros at the current exchange rate) thanks to the high prices of crude oil and the wide refining and marketing margins.
With this, the largest oil company in the United States increases by 142% the 23,040 million dollars of 2021 and breaks the record of 45,220 million of 2008.
The war in Ukraine has boosted international oil prices.
The rapid reactivation of demand after the pandemic crisis has also allowed these prices to coexist with high refining margins.
What for others have been inflation, cost increases and difficulties, for the vertically integrated oil majors has been a dream scenario.
In the case of ExxonMobil, that has also been combined with high production volumes.
The oil company's annual profits are the third-largest posted so far by a US company in any sector, behind only Apple and Microsoft.
Google's parent Alphabet is also expected to top that number on Thursday when it presents its annual results.
ExxonMobil's turnover shot up 45% to 413.680 million dollars.
In this case, it does not exceed the income of 2011, which amounted to 467,000 million, but then the margins were lower.
The company already broke the record for quarterly profits in its 152-year history in the third quarter of the year, when it tripled its profits to $42.99 billion.
In the fourth quarter, the result has not been so spectacular.
Billing has been 95,429 million (+12%) and profit has improved by 44%, up to 12,750 million.
US President Joe Biden has targeted oil companies for much of the past year, as the price of gasoline soared and inflation pulled, eroding his popularity.
Biden accused the companies of taking advantage of the situation to increase their margins, asked them to transfer the reductions in the price of crude oil to the pump as soon as possible and not to allocate their enormous profits to share repurchases and dividends, but to reinvest in greater production and oil refining.
With the fall in gasoline prices and the respite that inflation has given in the final stretch of the year, those criticisms have faded.
Exxon achieves those record profits only two years after also suffering its biggest losses, of just over 22,000 million dollars in 2020 due to the fall in prices and the stoppage of activity due to the pandemic.
The company (which sells gasoline under the Exxon, Esso and Mobil brands, among others) continued with its investments in exploration and production (especially in Guyana and in the Permian massif of Texas and New Mexico, in the United States) and refining despite that setback and now reap the results.
"Although our results clearly benefited from a favorable market, the countercyclical investments we made before and during the pandemic provided the energy and products that people needed when economies began to recover and supplies became scarce," said its president. and CEO, Darren Woods, in a statement.
“We tried hard when others didn't.
Our 2023 plan calls for further progress on our strategic objectives, which include leading the industry in security, operational and financial performance,” he added.
Cash increased by $22.9 billion in 2022, with free cash flow of $62.1 billion.
Shareholder returns were $29.8 billion, including $14.9 billion in dividends and $14.9 billion in share repurchases.
The company also increased and expanded its share repurchase program with up to $35 billion of cumulative share repurchase in 2023-2024.
Chevron, another of the Standard Oil breakup companies, also posted record profits last week.
It earned 35,465 million dollars, 127% more than a year earlier, after boosting its turnover by 51.6%, up to 246,252 million dollars.
The fourth quarter results, however, disappointed and were poorly received on the stock market.