Soaring energy prices and bigger volumes helped Saudi oil giant Aramco to a record profit of $161.1bn in 2022 – up 46.5% on 2021.
Aramco’s profits represented the largest annual profit ever achieved by an oil and gas company and stood at around triple that reported by ExxonMobil for 2022.
“This is probably the highest net income ever recorded in the corporate world,” Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said in an earnings call.
Aramco has benefited from higher sale volumes and improved margins for refined products as well as surging gas prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and resulting western sanctions on Russian energy supplies.
“We are cautiously optimistic,” Nasser said. “If you consider China opening up, the pickup in jet fuels and the very limited spare capacity, we are cautiously optimistic in the short to mid-term [that] markets will remain tightly balanced.”
Nasser warned against under investment in the sector. He said: “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.”
To this end Aramco would focus on investing in lower carbon technologies as well as expanding oil, gas and chemicals production.
Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International's secretary general, said in response to the results: “It is shocking for a company to make a profit of more than $161bn in a single year through the sale of fossil fuel – the single largest driver of the climate crisis.
“It is all the more shocking because this surplus was amassed during a global cost-of-living crisis and aided by the increase in energy prices resulting from Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine.”
Aramco produced an average of 13.6m barrels of oil equivalent per day last year. But the company’s majority owner, the Saudi government, also antagonised the US after it reduced output last year.
In February Saudi Aramco announced a target of achieving 70% local content in its procurement within the next two years.
Nasser said the company had reached 63% local content so far but wanted to reach 70% by 2025.
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