Energy giant Saudi Aramco said on Sunday that its second-quarter profits for 2021 had nearly quadrupled from the same period last year due to higher oil prices.
The company’s success comes after its debts soared last year, when Saudi Arabia was hit by the double whammy of low prices and sharp production cuts triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Aramco said its net profit reached $ 25.5 billion in the second quarter of the year, up from $ 6.6 billion in the same quarter of 2020, due to a stronger oil market and refining margins. and higher chemicals, and with the easing of restrictions on Covid-19. .
“Our second quarter results reflect a strong rebound in global energy demand, and we are heading into a more resilient and flexible second half of 2021 as the global recovery accelerates,” said CEO of Aramco, Amin Nasser, in a statement.
The announcement comes about two months after the company said it raised $ 6 billion in its first sale of dollar-denominated Islamic bonds, posting a 30% increase in first-quarter profits earlier this year.
Aramco – the kingdom’s cash cow – said in May its net profit reached $ 21.7 billion in the first three months of the year.
The energy giant recorded a 44.4% drop in net profit in 2020, putting pressure on public finances as Riyadh continues with multibillion-dollar plans to diversify the economy.
The world’s major oil producers agreed last month to continue to modestly increase production from August, reaching a compromise after the UAE blocked a deal.
An OPEC + meeting decided to increase production by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) each month starting in August to help fuel a global economic recovery as the pandemic abates.
– Aramco s’ouvre –
Long regarded as the “economic jewel of the kingdom,” Aramco and its assets were once tightly controlled by the government and viewed as off limits to outside investment.
But with the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, accelerating efforts to implement his “Vision 2030” reform program, the kingdom has shown itself ready to cede some control.
Aramco previously sold a slice of its shares on the Saudi Stock Exchange in December 2019, generating $ 29.4 billion for 1.7% of its shares.
In April, the company announced it had reached a $ 12.4 billion deal to sell a minority stake in a new pipeline company to a consortium led by US-based EIG Global Energy Partners.
And in June, Aramco “successfully raised $ 6 billion, following the sale of US dollar-denominated Sharia-compliant securities to leading institutional investors,” the company said.
Aramco also declared a dividend of $ 18.8 billion for the second quarter.
Earlier this year, Prince Mohammed said the kingdom would sell more Aramco shares.
Some analysts have raised concerns over past drone and missile attacks on Aramco facilities in the kingdom – claimed by Houthi rebels in Yemen.
There are also heightened fears about cyber attacks, with Saudi Aramco confirming last month that company data had been leaked by one of its contractors. However, the company said it had “no impact” on operations.
When the coronavirus pandemic took hold early last year, oil prices fell as demand for crude plummeted.
They have since made a brilliant recovery, currently trading above $ 70 a barrel.
© 2021 AFP