Saudi Aramco reported a net profit of $39.5 billion for the first quarter of the year on the back of increasingly strong crude oil prices.
The figure represented an 82-percent annual improvement and a record quarterly profit for Aramco since it went public three years ago.
Free cash flow rose to $30.6 billion, the company also said, from $18.3 billion a year earlier, and cash flow from operating activities went up to $38.2 billion from $26.5 billion a year ago. First-quarter capex stood at $7.6 billion.
“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,” said chief executive and president Amin Nasser.
Thanks to its strong financial performance, Aramco last week dethroned Apple as the world’s most valuable company, as rising oil prices pushed its stock higher for a total market cap of $2.426 trillion.
In production, Aramco’s daily average during the first quarter stood at 13 million barrels of oil equivalent, the company also reported. Saudi Arabia is one of only two OPEC members with the spare capacity to boost oil production considerably, but it has so far refused to do so despite numerous please from importing countries.
The refusal has remained even though Aramco said at the presentation of its fourth-quarter 2021 results that it planned to increase its crude oil production capacity to 13 million barrels daily.
Over the long term, a boost in Saudi oil production capacity would certainly be good news for oil importers. The problem, however, is that these importers are energy-starved now—or rather, they want to avoid being energy-starved if they decide to increase their sanctions on Russia. In this, no help is coming from Saudi Arabia, it seems.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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