Saudi Aramco’s profits rose in the first quarter after the global oil and gas markets recovered, allowing the state-owned company to maintain its dividend.
The world’s largest energy company has kept its quarterly payments, almost all of which go to the government of Saudi Arabia, at $ 18.8 billion. Money is a vital source of cash for the kingdom as it tries to narrow a budget deficit that swelled last year, as the coronavirus pandemic plunged oil prices and shut down local businesses.
The bumper results come on the heels of those witnessed by major oil companies in the past week such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc, whose profits are back to pre-pandemic levels.
Aramco’s net profit for the quarter was 81.4 billion riyals ($ 21.7 billion), up 30 percent year-on-year. Free cash flow was $ 18.3 billion, which was close to the dividend level.