Energy giant Saudi Aramco posted Sunday an 82 percent jump in the first quarter profits, buoyed by the surge in oil prices that has made it the world’s most valuable company.
The announcement continued a string of recent positive economic news for Saudi Arabia, where a booming oil sector is fuelling the fastest growth rate in a decade.
Aramco’s net income of $39.5 billion was up from $21.7 billion in 2021, “primarily driven by higher crude oil prices and volumes sold, and improved downstream margins,” it said in a press release.
The latest financial results were published four days after Aramco dethroned Apple as the world’s most valuable company, with shares worth $2.42 trillion compared to Apple’s $2.37 trillion.
In March, Aramco reported a 124 percent net profit surge for 2021.
But the company, the kingdom’s “crown jewel” and a key source of government revenue, faces security challenges related to an ongoing war by a Saudi-led military coalition against Yemen’s Huthi rebels, who have repeatedly targeted the kingdom, including Aramco sites.
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In 2019, Huthi-claimed aerial assaults on two Aramco facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia temporarily knocked out half of the kingdom’s crude production.
A March attack by the Huthis on Aramco facilities caused a “temporary” drop in production.
Aramco also declared a Q1 dividend of $18.8 billion to be paid in the second quarter, and has approved the distribution of one bonus share for every 10 shares held in the Company. The results were underpinned by higher crude oil prices and volumes sold, and improved downstream margins.
Commenting on the results, Aramco President & CEO Amin H. Nasser, said: “Against the backdrop of increased volatility in global markets, we remain focused on helping meet the world’s demand for energy that is reliable, affordable and increasingly sustainable.
“Energy security is vital and we are investing for the long term, expanding our oil and gas production capacity to meet anticipated demand growth and creating long-term shareholder value by capitalizing on our low lifting cost, low upstream carbon intensity, and integrated downstream business.
“During the first quarter, our strategic downstream expansion progressed further in both Asia and Europe, and we continue to develop opportunities that complement our growth objectives.
“As we collaborate with domestic and international partners to explore new and emerging technologies and solutions, from developing cleaner transport technologies to establishing low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia value chains, I am more optimistic than ever about the positive contribution we can make, both to our customers and to the ongoing global energy transition.”
In early May, Saudi Arabia reported its fastest economic growth rate in a decade, as a booming oil sector fuelled a 9.6 percent rise in the first quarter over the same period of 2021.
The world’s biggest oil exporter has resisted US entreaties to raise output in an attempt to rein in prices that have spiked since the Ukraine war began.