Equinor posted on Wednesday a 57% year-on-year decline in second-quarter core profit, in line with expectations as oil and gas prices fell, while maintaining its dividend and share buyback levels.
The Norwegian energy group's adjusted earnings before interest and tax for April-June fell to $7.54 billion from $17.6 billion a year earlier, broadly in line with the $7.64 billion predicted in a poll of 21 analysts compiled by Equinor.
"Equinor delivered solid earnings in a quarter affected by turnarounds and energy prices down from the extraordinary levels last year," CEO Anders Opedal said in a statement.
Equinor maintained its plan to distribute $17 billion to shareholders this year in the form of $11 billion in dividend payments and $6 billion in share buybacks, he added.
Equinor, Europe's largest supplier of natural gas, is the continent's first major energy group to report results for the second quarter of 2023.
Oil and gas prices soared last year as Russia's invasion of Ukraine led to supply disruptions but the cost of energy has since fallen as fears of shortages eased amid global economic headwinds.
Majority state-owned Equinor's operating profit was also down from $12.0 billion in the first quarter.
Equinor's overall oil and gas production rose 1% year-on-year to 1.99 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) and the company maintained its full-year production growth target of 3% for the year, boosted by a bump in output from the Johan Sverdrup oilfield, Europe's biggest producing entity.
The company reiterated its forecasts for capital expenditure of between $10 billion and $11 billion this year and about $13 billion each year from 2024 to 2026.
Equinor's Oslo-listed stocks have fallen 10% year-to-date as gas prices tumbled, underperforming a 0.4% drop in European petroleum company stocks.
Norway's Equinor Q2 adjusted earnings fall https://tmsnrt.rs/44FotzW
(Reuters - Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Terje Solsvik, Robert Birsel)