SPAIN’S biggest oil company, Repsol, recorded a record-breaking net annual profit of €4.2 billion last year- up by 70% on 2021 which had been the firm’s most profitable year for a decade.
With crude oil prices rising to the highest level in 14 years- mainly due to the Ukraine war- 64% of Repsol’s profits came from its international business.
It has argued that it lost over €7 billion in 2019 and 2020 due to the first year of the Covid pandemic and a reduced value of its fossil fuel assets.
Repsol added that it invested €4.1 billion last year in new projects and is increasing that figure to €5 billion this year.
Over a third of the money will go to low-carbon projects including the transformation of six refinery sites in Spain and Portugal.
Despite the big rise in profits from refining fuel, the company has warned that the profitability and competitiveness of its refineries ‘would be impacted if certain aspects affecting the oil sector in Europe are not changed, such as the insecurity of the business environment and regulatory and fiscal pressure’.
Repsol CEO, Josu Jon Imaz, said: “In Europe we are highly dependent on imports because regulators have preferred to forget the need to invest in oil and gas and, also, in refining capacity.”
“High prices are not falling down from the sky, they are a consequence of the wrong decisions taken in Europe,” he complained.
With windfall taxes introduced on energy companies in Spain, Imaz bullishly said Repsol was more than paying its fair share to the government.
“We made a record tax contribution of €17 billion in 2022 internationally, with 70% of that in Spain, which make us the leading Ibex-35 company that pays the most taxes in this country,“ he said.
“Debate over profits has to be put into context with populist slogans only hindering business activity, causing distrust in investors, reducing investment and economic activity, cutting down on tax collection and putting jobs at at risk,” Imaz declared.