Cnooc reported record annual profits as China’s biggest offshore oil and gas driller reaped the benefit of last year’s surge in energy prices.
The state-owned producer’s net income doubled to 141.7 billion yuan ($20.6 billion) for 2022, from 70.3 billion yuan a year earlier, the company said in a Wednesday stock exchange filing.
Earnings were boosted as oil prices in 2022 averaged almost 40% more than the previous year, and by higher output as China’s top suppliers ramped up domestic production to meet the government’s goal of trimming reliance on fuel imports.
Combined oil and gas output rose 8.9% to a record, and Cnooc said it expects China’s economic rebound to support rising energy demand.
“The global need for oil and gas is anticipated to increase further, with China’s demand for these commodities particularly promising for the company’s future growth,” Cnooc said in the statement. Nine new projects are scheduled to be commissioned in 2023, the company said.
Cnooc previously said annual capital expenditure will be between 100 billion yuan and 110 billion yuan this year, and it will lift output to between 650 million and 660 million barrels of oil equivalent. The firm’s capital expenditure was about 102.5 billion yuan last year.
A better domestic outlook comes as Cnooc also scales back its investments overseas, though a planned sale of its $3 billion UK North Sea portfolio was paused as initial offers didn’t meet expectations, people familiar with the details said in January.
The firm is seeking to use breakthroughs in deep-sea drilling technology to boost development of areas of the South China Sea and Bohai Bay, and is continuing to pursue growth in ethylene and offshore wind.
Cnooc will use its higher profits to lift a 2022 dividend payment to HK$1.45 per share.