Saudi Oil Profits Jump 90%

Big quarter means government is more flush with cash
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 15, 2022 5:52 PM CDT
Aramco Rides Higher Oil Prices to Nearly $88B in 2022 Earnings
FILE - Saudi Aramco engineers and journalists look at the Hawiyah Natural Gas Liquids Recovery Plant in Hawiyah, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia on June 28, 2021. Saudi oil company Aramco’s half-year profits peaked just shy of $88 billion for the first half of the year as oil prices remain high...   (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

(Newser) – Saudi energy company Aramco said Sunday its profits jumped 90% in the second quarter compared to the same time last year, helping its half-year earnings reach nearly $88 billion. The increase is a boon for the kingdom and the crown prince's spending power as people around the world pay higher gas prices at the pump while energy companies rake in top earnings, the AP reports. Aramco's net profits were helped by strong second-quarter earnings ending in June that hit $48.4 billion—a figure higher than all of the first six months of 2021, when profits reached just $47 billion. It sets a new quarterly earnings record for Aramco since it first floated around 5% of the company on the Saudi stock market in late 2019.

Earnings for just this past quarter are roughly what Aramco's full-year profits were in 2020, when demand for oil crashed during pandemic lockdowns. Its half-year earnings of $87.9 billion put Aramco on track to far surpass the full-year earnings of 2019, prior to the pandemic, when profits hit $88 billion. The company credited the jump to higher crude oil prices and volumes sold, as well as higher refining margins. Saudi Arabia's vast oil reserves are among the cheapest to produce in the world. Aramco's finances are crucial to the kingdom's stability; when its margins are high, Saudi Arabia's economic growth reflects that. As countries around the world grapple with inflation and recession, the International Monetary Fund projects the Saudi economy will grow by more than 7.6% this year, the highest globally.

Despite years of efforts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify the economy, and some success in increasing non-oil revenue, Saudi Arabia continues to rely heavily on crude exports that pay for public-sector salaries, generous benefits to citizens, and defense spending. The company will pay a dividend of $18.8 billion for the second quarter to shareholders, as it has promised to do since its debut on the stock market, per the AP. The Saudi government is its main shareholder. Aramco President CEO Amin Nasser said he expects oil demand to continue to grow for the rest of the decade, despite current downward economic pressures. OPEC has said it expects world oil demand to rise by around 3 million barrels per day this year with total oil demand to average 100 million barrels a day.

(Read more Saudi Aramco stories.)

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