Oil giant Aramco reports record first quarter as oil prices soar

Saudi Aramco logo is pictured at the oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia October 12, 2019.Maxim Shemetov | ReutersOil giant Aramco reported a more-than 80% jump in net profit Sunday, topping analyst expectations and setting a new quarterly earnings record since its IPO. The Saudi Arabian behemoth said net income rose 82% to $39.5 billion in the first three months of the year, up from $21.7 billion over the same period last year. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast net income of $38.5 billion dollars. The record quarter for Aramco comes amid a standout quarter for Big Oil, which is benefiting from a sharp rise in oil and gas prices. Aramco said its earnings were driven by higher crude oil prices, rising volumes sold and improved downstream margins.”During the first quarter, our strategic downstream expansion progressed further in both Asia and Europe, and we continue to develop opportunities that complement our growth objectives,” Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser said in the earnings release Sunday. “Against the backdrop of increased volatility in global markets, we remain focused on helping meet the world’s demand for energy that is reliable, affordable and increasingly sustainable.”With a market cap of around $2.43 trillion on Wednesday, Aramco last week surpassed Apple to become the world’s most valuable company. The companies’ market caps looked similar on Sunday. Aramco stock is up over 15% so far in 2022. In March, the oil giant reported that its full-year profit last year more than doubled due to the ongoing rise in oil prices, driven higher by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, looming European Union sanctions on Russian oil and the prospect of tighter supply.Bonus SharesAramco said cash flow from operating activities was $38.2 billion in the first quarter, compared to $26.5 billion in the same period last year. Its free cash flow increased by 68% year-on-year to $30.6 billion, which it said will enable it to deliver an $18.8 billion dividend to shareholders.Aramco also said it would use $4 billion dollars in retained earnings to distribute bonus shares to shareholders — amounting to one share for every 10 shares held.

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