Oil giant Saudi Aramco beats estimates with 30% rise in first quarter profits

Oil tanks at an oil processing facility of Saudi Aramco, a Saudi state oil and gas company, at the Abqaiq oil field.

Stanislav Krasilnikov | TASS via Getty Images

Oil giant Saudi Aramco on Tuesday reported a 30% rise in net profit on Tuesday, a sign of continued recovery from the previous year’s oil market crash that saw the state-owned company’s annual profits cut in half .

In a statement on Tuesday, the company said net profit rose to $ 21.7 billion in the first three months of the year, from $ 16.6 billion in the same period last year.

It topped some analysts’ estimates of $ 17.24 billion, despite lower oil production in February and March. The figure comes close to the company’s level of net income in the first quarter of 2019, which was $ 22.2 billion.

Saudi Arabia’s giant oil producer also maintained its dividend, with $ 18.8 billion due in the first and second quarters.

Profits reflect a significantly improved climate for the oil markets since the first quarter of last year, when Aramco reported a 25% drop in net profit for the period as it grappled with the early fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and declining global demand.

The company said free cash flow in the first quarter was $ 18.3 billion, up from $ 15 billion compared to the same period last year.

Aramco, like its global peers, has gone through an uncertain oil price environment and an unpredictable global economic recovery. The company has described 2020 as the “toughest year” in its history and is now benefiting from the recovery in oil markets, with international benchmark Brent prices roughly double what they were at the same time. last year. Refining and chemicals margins are also starting to improve.

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“The momentum provided by the global economic recovery has strengthened energy markets,” Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser said in a company press release on Tuesday. He added that “some headwinds remain”, but said: “Given the positive signs of energy demand in 2021, there is more reason to be optimistic that better days are approaching.”

This is breaking news and will be updated shortly.

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