Italy’s Eni has reported an adjusted net profit of $5.4bn (€4.74bn) for 2021, compared to a loss of $858m (€758m) in the year prior, as higher energy prices benefited its business.

The figure also marks the company’s best performance since 2012.

The company’s adjusted net profit in the three months that ended in December 2021 stood at $2.4bn (€2.11bn), a significant jump from the $56.5m (€50m) reported in the same period a year ago.

The increase was attributed to improved equity investment results, better operating performance, and enhanced recovery in the upstream scenario.

The firm’s net profit was $6.92bn (€6.12bn) in 2021, compared to a loss of $9.76bn (€8.63bn) in 2020.

The exploration and production adjusted EBIT was €9.3bn, an increase of 500% compared to 2020’s figures.

Higher energy prices have also increased Eni’s upstream business, despite its 3% drop in oil and gas production to 1.682 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2021.

The reduced production was attributed to lower output and maintenance at the firm’s mature fields.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said: “The strict financial discipline and cost efficiencies we implemented to withstand the downturn have allowed us to best capture the strong economic recovery of 2021.

“On the one hand, our upstream segment has kept generating the financial resources needed to fund our decarbonisation strategy while, on the other, the new energy transition businesses, like those combined under our new entity Plenitude, have performed strongly.

“In this way, we have reached a group EBIT of €9.7bn and adjusted net profit of €4.7bn, our best performance since 2012, a time when Brent crude oil prices exceeded the $110-a-barrel mark.

“All in all, our performance in 2021 highlighted the efficacy of the strategy launched at the start of the pandemic, which enabled us to return to pre-crisis balance sheet strength in just a few months while simultaneously enhancing our transition plans.”

The company’s revenue increased to $88.1bn (€77.76bn) in 2021, from $50.91bn (€44.94bn) in 2020. Revenue for Q4 2021 was $30.6bn (€27.07bn), compared to $13.5bn (€11.93bn) in the same period a year ago.

Cash flow from operations stood at $14.4bn (€12.71bn) for the full year 2021.

Last month, Eni announced that it had received five new exploration licences from the Egyptian government.