The oil giant Saudi Aramco made a profit of 39,500 million dollars (almost 38,000 million euros) in the first quarter of the year thanks to the high price of crude oil and for having replaced Russian production in the market.
The figure is 82% higher than that harvested in the same period of 2021 and constitutes the best result since it went public in 2019. The quarterly accounts of the Saudi state energy company arrive the same week in which it has again exceeded Apple in value, thus recovering the scepter of the largest listed company in the world.
Improved cash flow—thanks to both higher sales volumes and higher refining and marketing margins—allowed the crown jewel of the Saudi economy to deliver $18.8 billion in dividends and substantially reduce its debt ratio.
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After learning the results, Aramco shares posted a 3.2% rise in the session this Sunday - a working day in Riyadh -, prolonging the climb so far this year to almost 30%.
With a valuation of almost 2.5 billion dollars —four times the combined value of the entire Ibex 35—, 98% of its shares are still in the hands of the Saudi state.
Indirectly, the Kingdom of the Desert is benefiting from the international isolation applied to one of its main competitors: Russia.
Turned toxic in most of the West, crude oil from the Eurasian country is having serious problems finding buyers.
A situation that is forcing Moscow to apply severe reductions in the sale price (of around 30%), which countries like India are taking advantage of but which is taking a toll on the Kremlin's income.
Even with those discounts, much of that oil will remain unowned.
Saudi Arabia, with Aramco in the lead, is taking advantage of the situation.
Although most of its exports are destined for Asia, at a time of accelerated reordering of global energy flows, Riyadh has a golden opportunity to profit from its vast reserves (among the largest in the world) and its low extraction cost (one of the smallest on the planet).
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Unlike other big producers, Saudi Arabia still has room to increase its production.
Despite its refusal to open the tap completely, as the main consuming countries have been asking for months, Aramco's pumping has grown by 20%, to 10.2 million barrels per day between January and March.
Its goal is to increase oil extraction by almost 30% by 2027 and gas extraction by 50% by 2030. At the current prices of both fossil fuels – crude oil is almost 50% more expensive than a year ago ;
gas prices have increased fivefold—that's a lot of money.