Oil giant Saudi Aramco has reported earnings of $161 billion (N71.6 trillion at N445/$) last year, claiming the highest-ever recorded annual profit by a publicly listed company and drawing immediate criticism from activists.
The amount is the equivalent of Nigeria’s total public debt N77 trillion ($172 billion) when the current public debt of N44 trillion is added to N21 trillion ways and means from the Central bank of Nigeria.
The monster profit by the firm, known formerly as the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., came off the back of energy prices rising after Russia launched its war on Ukraine in February 2022, with sanctions limiting the sale of Moscow’s oil and natural gas in Western markets.
“Given that we anticipate oil and gas will remain essential for the foreseeable future, the risks of underinvestment in our industry are real — including contributing to higher energy prices,” Saudi Aramco CEO and President Amin H. Nasser said in a statement.
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Profits rose 46.5% when compared to the company’s 2021 results of $110 billion. It earned $49 billion in 2020 when the world faced the worst of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, travel disruptions and oil prices briefly going negative.
Aramco put its crude production at around 11.5 million barrels a day in 2022 and said it hoped to reach 13 million barrels a day by 2027.
To boost that production, it plans to spend as much as $55 billion this year on capital projects.
Aramco also declared a dividend of $19.5 billion for the fourth quarter of 2022, to be paid in the first
Aramco’s results mirror the huge profits seen at those of UK energy giant BP, America’s Exxon Mobil, Shell and others in 2022. But the sheer size of the $161 billion profit overshadowed even its own previous results, as well as records by Apple, Vodafone and the U.S. Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae.
Benchmark Brent crude oil now trades around $82 a barrel, though prices had reached over $120 a barrel back in June. Aramco, whose fortunes hinge on global energy prices, announced a record $42.4 billion profit the third quarter of 2022 off the back of that price spike.
Shares in Aramco stood at $8.74 on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange. That’s down from a high of $11.55 a share in the last year. However, that current price still gives Aramco a valuation of $1.9 trillion — making it the world’s second most valuable company behind only Apple.
The Saudi government still owns the vast majority of the firm’s shares. Saudi Aramco publicly listed a sliver of its worth back in late 2019.