Equinor has posted slightly higher-than-expected profits for the final quarter of 2023, as output also increased.

But the Norwegian energy group cut its payouts from $17b (£13.47b) last year to $14b (£11.09b) in 2024.

Adjusted earnings before tax for October to December came in at $8.68b (£6.88b), falling by nearly 50% from last years $17b (£13.47b), but ahead of the $8.46b (£6.7b) expected by analysts.

Combined oil and gas output grew by 2.1% in 2023 after a strong year end, exceeding the company's 1.5% expectation.

Anders Opedal, president and CEO of Equinor, said: "In 2023 we continued to contribute to energy security in Europe and delivered 2.1% production growth.

"Solid operational performance and cost focus yielded strong financial results and cash flow. We delivered competitive capital distribution, while investing in a profitable portfolio that will contribute to future growth.

"Equinor is well positioned to deliver profitable growth. We expect to grow our cash flow and sustain competitive returns. We are extending the outlook for stable contribution from oil and gas to 2035. By 2030 we expect material and rapidly growing cash flow from our renewables and low carbon business.

"We will provide a broader energy offering with lower emissions. We aim to grow renewables and decarbonised energy to more than 80 terawatt hours by 2035 and have increased our ambition for carbon storage."

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