Aug. 14 (UPI) — Aramco, the largely state-owned Saudi oil company, reported a 90% surge in second-quarter profits on Sunday.
Aramco reported $48.4 billion net income for the three-month period ending in June, thought to be one of the largest quarterly profits in history.
The quarterly earnings were up nearly double from its $25.5 net income during the same period last year and above analysts’ expectations of $46.2 billion.
It also reported half-year net income of $87.9 billion, widely surpassing other major oil companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP.
The Saudi Arabian government holds a 95% stake in Aramco and will take the majority of an $18.8 billion dividend set to be distributed before the end of October.
The company cited strong market conditions as a driving factor behind the earnings boom as oil prices rose as high as $130 per barrel earlier this year.
“Our record second-quarter results reflect increasing demand for our products — particularly as a low-cost producer with one of the lowest upstream carbon intensities in the industry,” Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser said.
Gas prices, however, have begun to recede some, with the national average in the United States falling to $3.99 per gallon last week, falling below $4 for the first time since March. It went as high as $5.02 onJune 14.
Nasser added Aramco expects post-pandemic recovery in oil demand to continue for the remainder of the decade despite “downward economic pressures on short-term global forecasts.”
“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,” he said.
The record profits for Aramco come after U.S. President Joe Biden faced criticism for being photographed fist-bumping Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a visit to the Middle East last month.
Lawmakers said Biden’s actions indicated efforts to warm up to the oil-rich government despite Western intelligence indicating Mohammed was directly responsible for the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in 2018.