Saudi Aramco profit jumps 90 percent due to high oil prices

Saudi Aramco, the giant oil producer, said on Sunday that second-quarter profits are up 90 percent from the same period a year ago, to $48.2 billion. It is the latest energy producer to report record profits due to an increase in oil prices.

Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, said its earnings reflected increased demand for crude oil and higher refining profits. And the state-owned company predicted that oil demand would continue to grow for the rest of the decade.

The company has benefited from growing energy needs as economic activity around the world has increased after the coronavirus pandemic dampened demand.

But oil producers are also benefiting from the price hikes that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

From late February through June, crude oil prices rose more than 36 percent to nearly $120 a barrel, partly under pressure from Western sanctions used to punish Russia. In recent weeks, major oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell, BP and TotalEnergies have made huge, often record-breaking profits.

The rising price of crude oil led to sharp increases at the gas pump, with the average price per gallon in the United States briefly surpassing $5.

Since June, oil prices have fallen lower, with Brent oil, the international benchmark, at $98 a barrel on Friday, and gas falling below $4 a gallon on average in the United States. But prices remain relatively high — a year ago Brent was about $61 a barrel — and there are growing concerns that major oil producers are approaching a limit in how much they can produce.

Aramco’s chief executive, Amin H. Nasser, appeared to address those concerns in the company’s statement on Sunday.

“While global market volatility and economic uncertainty persist,” said Mr Nasser, “the events of the first half of this year support our view that continued investment in our industry is essential.”

He said Aramco’s capital investment program, which grew 25 percent in the last quarter to $9.4 billion, was the largest in its history. “Our approach is to invest in the reliable energy and petrochemicals the world needs,” he said, while also investing in renewable energy, including hydrogen.

Aramco said it would pay a dividend of $18.8 billion in the third quarter, unchanged from the previous quarter. The bulk of the money will go to the Saudi government, which owns nearly all of the company’s stock, which has a market value of more than $2 trillion.

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