by Daniel J. Graeber
Fairfield, Conn. (UPI) Jan 20, 2017
Gains in the renewable energy sector and deals in exploration and production helped boost fourth quarter profits substantially, General Electric said Friday.
GE said its earnings during the fourth quarter increased to about $3.5 billion, against the $2.6 billion reported during the same period last year. By sector, the company's renewable energy sector saw total revenues increase 29 percent to $2.5 billion.
"We executed on our 2016 goals and continued to drive growth across our businesses," Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement.
On the renewable energy front, the company announced at least $1.6 billion in acquisitions of wind power rivals and realized billions of dollars more in onshore wind orders in the United States alone. Last year, the company put its wind energy sector footprint on display at the Block Island wind farm, which became the first offshore wind farm in commercial service in the United States.
Outside of North America, the company committed to collaborating with Italian energy company Eni on a wide range of projects tied to low-carbon power options like solar power and wind. In British waters, GE said there's already $25 million committed to tidal power.
GE's oil and gas business has built up its position through acquisitions so that it's now one of the stronger divisions within the parent company. A marine division of GE last year said it would work with Danish energy company Maersk Drilling on a pilot program to use advanced digital technology for drilling operations. The collaboration with Maersk came less than a month after the oil and gas division of GE acquired a 62.5 percent stake in oilfield services company Baker Hughes.
The exploration and production side of the global energy turned south last year on the back of lower crude oil prices, though the market has recovered since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries coordinated a deal to offset market strains.
On oil and gas, however, GE reported total revenues for the fourth quarter were 22 percent lower year-on-year.
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