Latest News

16 February 2024

British Gas profits soared tenfold to £751m in 2023 

Credit: Damian Czajka via Shutterstock

British Gas’ annual profits soared more than tenfold to £751m in 2023 from £72m in 2022, its parent company Centrica announced.  

Centrica reported total cash returns of £800m to shareholders in 2023, with dividend per share increasing by 33% to 4p from 3p the previous year.  

For the year ending December 2023, Centrica made an adjusted operating profit of £2.8bn compared with £3.3bn the previous year due to decreased seasonal demand and lower volatility in wholesale prices.  

The company’s free cash flow experienced a decline of 11.2% from £2.4bn in 2022 to £2.2bn in 2023. However, the adjusted net cash increased by £2.7bn in 2023 from the previous year’s £1.19bn due to the company’s strong liquidity and robust balance sheet. 

“[In 2023] we have paid over £1bn in tax, created over 1,000 new UK-based jobs as we continue to invest in customer service,” said Centrica’s CEO Chris O’Shea. He added that strong underlying operational performance from 2023 has continued into early 2024.  

9 February 2024

TotalEnergies shuts down refinery in Texas, days after restarting

TotalEnergies has shut down its 238,000 barrel per day (bpd) Port Arthur refinery in Texas, just two days after restarting operations following a plant-wide power outage, as it struggled to maintain production with its 60,000bpd coker and 35,000bpd reformer. Port Arthur is one of TotalEnergies’ largest refining and petrochemical platforms. The site has a refining production capacity of 185,000bpd and a total processing capacity of 238,000bpd. 

TotalEnergies experienced a 31% drop in its fourth-quarter earnings, it said in its end-of-year results. It puts the slump down to lower oil and gas prices and lower refining margins compared with the “exceptional” environment seen in 2022, when the company saw record profits following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent global energy crisis. 

Elsewhere, the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, which is the largest in the Midwest, also announced a three-week shutdown due to a power outage earlier this month. The refinery will have to undergo inspections before it can resume operation. 

9 February 2024

ExxonMobil plans to exit Equatorial Guinea 

Exxon Mobil plans to exit Equatorial Guinea and transfer its remaining investments to the local government within the second quarter of this year.

The move is in line with the company’s long-term strategy on optimising its global portfolio. ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods has been focusing on reducing capital spending globally, directing investments towards high-growth, low-cost opportunities, notably in Guyana and the US Permian Basin.

The exit from Equatorial Guinea marks the end of nearly three decades of Exxon operations in the region. This period saw the country become a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

In November last year, Exxon announced plans to retire the Zafiro field’s platform in Equatorial Guinea following a safety incident that led to its shutdown. Prior to this event, the field was producing approximately 45,000 barrels per day, which is a small portion of Exxon’s global production of 3.8 million barrels per day.  

16 February 2024

US House passes bill to reverse Biden LNG pause

The Republican-held US House of Representatives passed a bill seeking to reverse President Joe Biden’s decision, made earlier this year, to freeze approvals of LNG exports. The bill was approved by 224 votes to 200. To become law, the proposed legislation must now pass through the Democrat-controlled Senate and then be signed by Biden himself – both of which are unlikely.

ClearView Energy Partners, a non-partisan policy research group, told reporters that the bill is more of a “messaging effort and a start to debate than an end to the pause”. If approved, the bill would hinder the Department of Energy from approving or disapproving exports, leaving the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the sole body approving LNG projects.

Biden paused approvals for LNG exports last month as his administration looked to revise environmental and economic impacts of the industry. Last year, the US became the world’s biggest exporter of LNG, with current exported volumes expected to at least double by the end of the decade. 

5 February 2024

Iraq minister calls for halt on oil exports to Jordan 

Iraqi Minister Mustafa Jabbar Sanad proposed a temporary ban on subsidised oil supply to Jordan on 3 February 2024.

Sanad’s move is in response to the US airstrikes in western Iraq, which he believes were supported by Jordan, although a source from the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army said that the Royal Jordanian Air Force did not take part. The US military had launched dozens of airstrikes against Syria and Iraq in response to a drone attack that killed three soldiers at a remote US base in Jordan.   

A request has been made for a resolution vote that would necessitate the Iraqi Ministry of Oil to halt the sale of crude oil to Jordan at the supported price due to the latter country’s possible involvement in the recent airstrikes.

Iraq is the second-largest producer of crude oil in OPEC. The country has the world's fifth-largest crude oil reserves, amounting to 145 billion barrels, accounting for 17% of reserves in the Middle East and 8% of global reserves as of September 2022.