Riyadh: Oil giant Saudi Aramco on Sunday unveiled record profits of $48.4 billion in the second quarter of 2022, after Russia’s war in Ukraine and a post-pandemic surge in demand sent crude prices soaring.
Net income leapt 90 percent year-on-year for the world’s biggest oil producer, which clocked its second straight quarterly record after announcing $39.5 billion for Q1.
“While global market volatility and economic uncertainty remain, events during the first half of this year support our view that ongoing investment in our industry is essential — both to help ensure markets remain well supplied and to facilitate an orderly energy transition,” said Aramco president and CEO Amin H. Nasser.
“In fact, we expect oil demand to continue to grow for the rest of the decade, despite downward economic pressures on short-term global forecasts.”
Net income rose 22.7 percent from Q1 in “strong market conditions”, Aramco said. Half-year profits were $87.9 billion, up from $47.2 billion for the same period of 2021.
Aramco paid an $18.8 billion dividend in Q2 and will disburse the same amount in Q3.
The quarterly profits, the highest since Aramco’s flotation in late 2019, beat analyst forecasts of $46.2 billion.
Aramco was priced at 40.8 riyals ($10.9) ahead of the Saudi stock exchange’s opening on Sunday.
Aramco floated 1.7 percent of its shares on the Saudi bourse in December 2019, generating $29.4 billion in the world’s biggest initial public offering.
The “crown jewel” and leading source of income for the conservative kingdom temporarily supplanted Apple as the world’s most valuable company in March. It now lies second in the list.
Saudi Arabia has sought to open up and diversify its oil-reliant economy, especially since Mohammed bin Salman’s appointment as crown prince and de facto ruler in 2017.
Earlier this month, the International Energy Agency said global oil demand will rise more than previously forecast this year as heatwaves and soaring gas prices prompt countries to switch fuels for power generation.
Oil prices have dropped by $30 per barrel from a peak in June due to growing supplies, but remain close to $100.
The OPEC group of oil-producing countries has been gradually raising production, despite pressure from Western leaders including US President Joe Biden — who visited Saudi Arabia last month — to pump more.
Biden’s trip was seen as a climb-down after he previously promised to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Turkey in 2018.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also visited Saudi Arabia since the Russian invasion in February.