Norwegian oil giant Equinor on Wednesday reported a record profit for 2022 on the back of soaring gas prices, enabling it to pay back its shareholders generously.

Net profit more than tripled to $28.7 billion, boosted mainly by skyrocketing gas prices which overshadowed a slight drop in production.

Output slipped by two percent to 2.04 million barrels per day of oil equivalent.

Like its British competitors Shell and BP and US rivals ExxonMobil and Chevron which have all posted spectacular profits, Equinor too saw its earnings inflated by the war in Ukraine.

Russia's halt in gas deliveries to Europe pushed prices to record levels last year and made Norway, where Equinor is the market leader, the continent's biggest gas supplier.

"In 2022, we responded to the energy crisis and contributed to energy security", chief executive Anders Opedal said in a statement.

Adjusted net profit -- the company's headline figure, which excludes some exceptional items -- more than doubled to $22.7 billion from $10 billion in 2021, while sales soared by 66 percent to $150.8 billion.

The strong showing will allow Equinor to be generous with its shareholders: the company plans to redistribute $17 billion in dividends and share buybacks this year.

Equinor also said it plans to invest $10-11 billion in 2023 and increase its oil and gas production by three percent.