Leading Saudi Arabian oil producer Aramco issued its earnings statement for the first quarter of 2022 on Sunday showing it earned record profits. The energy giant said that its net income shot up by 82% to $39.5 billion for the first three months of the year. It earned profits of $21.7 billion during the first quarter of 2021.
Aramco’s record earnings come as other producers in the oil industry are taking windfall profits resulting from steep crude oil and refined gas price increases. The company said in its statement that its increased earnings had been driven by the rising price of crude oil internationally. Demand for crude oil also remained consistently strong throughout the first part of the year.
Aramco CEO Amin Nasser issued a statement as part of the report saying that the company’s “strategic downstream expansion” developed rapidly in Asia and Europe. He added that the company is focused on meeting the increased demand for “energy that is reliable, affordable and increasingly sustainable.”
Following the first quarter report, Aramco’s market capitalization value stands at around $2.43 trillion. As a result the company has passed Apple’s valuation to become the highest valued company in the world.
Aramco’s stock price has risen over 15% during 2022, even as most industries have suffered from market selloffs. The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began in February coincided with the company’s rising 2022 profits.
The company also said that it would use $4 billion of retained earnings to reward shareholders with bonus stock shares. It is expected to distribute one bonus share for every 10 shares held publicly. Additionally, around $18.8 billion is marked for distribution as cash dividends to shareholders.
Aramco has taken advantage of increased demand from Western nations as the U.S. and European Union have imposed significant sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government.
The European Union has been considering a complete ban on Russian oil imports this month that could further increase the demand for Saudi oil products. In order for the EU to implement such sanctions, all 27 of its member nations must approve the measure. As things stand currently, Hungary is the sole EU member dissenting from a Russian oil ban.
The EU as a whole imports around two-thirds of the oil it uses from Russia.