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    Equinor Slips into Red in Q4


Lower prices and impairment charges were behind the swing to a loss.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Premium, Corporate, Exploration & Production, Financials, News By Country, Norway

Equinor Slips into Red in Q4

Norway’s Equinor swung to a net loss of $230mn in the fourth quarter, according to company results published on February 6, from a $3.37bn profit a year earlier.

Fellow European oil companies BP and Shell also reported diminished earnings in the fourth quarter, although their net income stayed in the black.

Equinor’s recorded adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $3.55bn in the fourth quarter, down from $4.39bn a year earlier. Net operating income came to $1.52bn, versus $6.75bn in the last quarter of 2018 and a loss of $469mn in the third quarter of 2019.

Equinor owed much to the launch of the giant Johan Sverdrup oil project in the North Sea in October, which is already producing at a rate of 350,000 b/day and should ramp up to 440,000 bpd this summer.

The company, which operates the field with a 42.6% stake, produced a record 2.198mn boe/d of oil and gas in the fourth quarter, up 1% yr/yr. Revenues still fell sharply to $15.22bn, however, from $22.4bn a year earlier, as a result of a steep decline in gas prices.

Equinor’s gas fetched only $2.23/mn btu in Europe in the fourth quarter, down from $3.58in the same period of 2018. This was more than in the third quarter, though, when the price averaged $1.99. It also took on $1.41bn of impairment charges on Norwegian assets.

“Record high production, reduced costs and continued strong capital discipline contributed to solid results in a quarter with lower commodity prices,” CEO Eldar Saetre said in a statement. “For the year we delivered competitive returns and strong growth in capital distribution.”

Equinor projects a 7% rise in output in 2020, from 2.074mn boe/day in 2019 as a whole, with average annual growth of around 3% between now and 2026. Its exploration spending is set to fall to $1.4bn in 2020, from $1.6bn in 2019, with overall capital expenditure totalling $10-11bn, versus $10bn in 2019.