High energy prices boosted oil companies’ revenues, but this did not translate into increased investment abroad, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
For example, Chevron and Exxon (both U.S.) and SaudiAramco (Saudi Arabia) divested foreign assets while increasing domestic investment.
European energy companies, including Shell (UK), BP (UK) and TotalEnergies (France), continued to divest from fossil fuel assets.
In contrast, Equinor (Norway) was the exception, with investments of US$8,611 million in 2022.
Meanwhile, OMV (Austria) and Repsol (Spain) did not significantly change the level or geographic distribution of their assets.
Utilities, too, posted high revenues, but were cautious about investing in new projects abroad, discouraged by government measures to protect consumers from higher energy bills, debates over the taxation of windfall profits and general geopolitical uncertainty.
For example, despite having had a profitable year, Enel (Italy) launched an extensive asset sale plan (in Latin America, Greece, Spain and Australia) to reduce its debt. RWE (Germany) continued its restructuring to become a renewables-only company, divesting some foreign assets.
Although the Russian and Ukrainian economies were small in the global context, they played an influential role in the energy and commodity markets.
Many European economies depended on Russian energy and trade links, and rising prices stifled economic activity, despite support schemes.
The U.S. economy was more sheltered from the fallout, but is increasingly affected by high inflation, rising interest rates and weakening global demand.
In China, the «zero coupon» policy persisted for most of the year, hampering the recovery of domestic activity.