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TotalEnergies quarterly profit misses forecasts, warns on margins

Published 02/07/2024, 02:05 AM
Updated 02/07/2024, 08:45 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A logo of TotalEnergies is seen at an electric vehicle fuelling station in the La Defense business district in Courbevoie near Paris, France, February 8, 2023. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier//File Photo

By Forrest Crellin and Benjamin Mallet

PARIS (Reuters) -TotalEnergies on Wednesday reported a bigger-than-expected decline in its adjusted income for the fourth quarter of 2023 and warned weak refining margins would impact its 2024 results.

Profits from oil majors have been down in 2023 by about a third from record levels in 2022, pressured as oil and gas prices retreated after spiking when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Shares in TotalEnergies (EPA:TTEF) were 3% lower in midday trading in Paris and were up 2.8% over the last 6 months.

The French group's net adjusted income dropped by 31% to $5.2 billion from $7.6 billion in the same quarter a year earlier. That compared with analysts' average forecast of $5.4 billion, according to LSEG data.

TotalEnergies' CEO Patrick Pouyanne said that the group expected a return of about 10% on its integrated power sector for 2024.

"A third of investments set aside for 2024 will be dedicated to new petrol and gas projects," Pouyanne told reporters.

Pouyanne said that the Rio Grande Project in the United States was unaffected by President Joe Biden's decision to pause pending approvals of exports from new LNG projects.

He expects the measures to be lifted, but said that the moratorium on certain U.S. LNG installations put future export licences in doubt.

The company hopes to develop its first project in Namibia and TotalEnergies will set aside a third of its budget for exploration projects in the country, he said.

Pouyanne also said that the company was "reactivating" the financing with its partners for a Mozambique project and was hopeful the project would return to production by mid-year. He said there was still engineering and construction to complete.

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TotalEnergies followed peers with plans to return capital to shareholders. It plans to increase interim dividends by 6.8% to 0.79 euros per share and to buy back $2 billion of shares in the first quarter of 2024.

That would be the base level for quarterly buybacks "in the current environment", it said.

For 2023, TotalEnergies proposed a dividend of 3.01 euros per share, up 7.1% from 2022.

The oil and gas group recorded quarterly adjusted core earnings (EBITDA) of $11.7 billion, down 27% year-on-year, and production of 2.483 million barrels per day (bpd), down 12% year-on-year.

For the whole of 2023, adjusted net income fell 36% to $23.2 billion as oil prices fell back from the peaks hit in 2022 at the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

It expects net investments of $17 billion to $18 billion for 2024, of which $5 billion will be dedicated to its integrated power section.

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