FURIOUS climate activists staged a protest outside of Equinor’s Aberdeen HQ after the oil firm made over £23 billion in profits in 2022.

The Norwegian state-owned company made more than double the underlying earnings of £27.7bn ($33.5bn) it made in 2021, bringing in £61.9bn ($74.9bn).

Its profits in 2022 were a staggering £23.8bn ($28.7bn) compared to the £7.1bn ($8.6bn) they made in 2021.

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It follows similar mammoth bottom line profits for oil and gas giants in recent days thanks to last year’s soaring energy prices, with BP and Shell both posting record-breaking figures for 2022, at £23 billion and £33 billion respectively.

Environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland pointed out that Equinor’s profits were more than BP and Shell’s combined, while the firm is currently awaiting approval of the hotly disputed Rosebank oil field, located 80 miles west of Shetland.

Activists have been calling on the project to be blocked due to the implications for global warming and warnings from international bodies and scientists to transition away from using fossil fuels. Rosebank is the largest undeveloped oil field in UK waters and could continue to produce for decades.

It comes as households and consumers face sharply rising energy bills amid a cost of living crisis.

The National: Campaigners urged Equinor to ditch its Rosebank projectCampaigners urged Equinor to ditch its Rosebank project (Image: Friends of the Earth Scotland)

Campaigners from FoE Scotland, Stop Rosebank and Extinction Rebellion Aberdeen targeted Equinor’s Aberdeen HQ on Wednesday afternoon after their profits were revealed, and to call on them to halt their plans to develop the oil field.

A vigil was also held outside the Norwegian embassy in London on Tuesday evening.

Freya Aitchison, FoE Scotland oil and gas campaigner, said the profits were a “real slap in the face” to those struggling to pay energy bills or heat their homes this winter.

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“On top of this, the UK Government is incentivising Equinor to drill for more oil and gas in the Rosebank field by giving them a £500 million tax break,” she said.

The deliberate loophole in the UK Tories’ windfall tax gives energy companies a 91% tax relief for new oil and gas investments.

She added: “Climate science is clear that to limit further dangerous climate breakdown, there must be no new investment in oil and gas extraction.

“Any oil produced from Rosebank will belong to Equinor who can sell it on the international market to the highest bidder. 80% of the oil extracted in the North Sea is exported and independent research has shown that it will not bring down energy bills.”

The National: Equinor made over £23bn in profits last yearEquinor made over £23bn in profits last year (Image: Friends of the Earth Scotland)

Lee Matthews, a member of Extinction Rebellion Aberdeen, added: “People are really angry about this and they’re showing it by turning out outside Equinor’s offices here in Aberdeen.

“We want Equinor to know that we won’t accept their plans to develop the Rosebank oil field, or any of the other new fossil fuel projects they’re planning across the world.

“Workers and communities need a just transition to affordable renewable energy, and for that to happen we need to stop investing in new fossil fuels now. The tide is already turning against the oil and gas industry thanks to people power, and we won’t stop until fossil fuels are a thing of the past.”

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Meanwhile, the CEO of Equinor recently said that consumers should expect energy bills to stay high for years to come.

And environmental campaigners were not the only ones to levy criticism at the firm.

Mick Lynch, offshore workers' union RMT general secretary, said: "Equinor has made exorbitant profits off the back of offshore contractors, many of them from Britain, who have suffered stagnating wages, insecure work and are forced to make their own pension arrangements.

The National: Equinor has faced criticism for refusing to ditch RosebankEquinor has faced criticism for refusing to ditch Rosebank (Image: Friends of the Earth Scotland)

"The grotesque profits at Equinor need a serious response, including conditions of licence, a guarantee of trade union rights and recognition that exists in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

"Offshore workers are growing increasingly angry about the amount of profit and dividends being ripped out of the industry at their expense.”

Equinor is one of the biggest producers of gas in the world, and last year became Europe’s biggest supplier of natural gas after Russia’s Gazprom slashed deliveries amid sanctions against President Putin’s regime, following his invasion of Ukraine.

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Historically it has supplied around 25% of gas used in the UK.

Anders Opedal, president and chief executive of Equinor, said: “In 2022, we responded to the energy crisis and contributed to energy security.

“With strong operational performance, we delivered record results and cash flow from operations.

“We stepped up capital distribution to shareholders, while continuing to invest in a balanced energy transition and contributing to society with high tax payments.”

The group, which makes the bulk of its profit in Norway, where oil firms pay tax at 78%, said it expects to pay record taxes in 2022, with 42.8 billion US dollars (£35.4 billion) paid in tax related to operations on the Norwegian continental shelf.