Saudi Aramco Q1 profits jump 30% on oil market recovery
Energy giant Saudi Aramco on Tuesday posted a 30 percent jump in first quarter profits, in a sign of recovery from last year's oil market crash fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic.
Aramco said its net profit rose to $21.7 billion in the first three months of the year, compared to $16.7 billion in the same quarter of 2020, owing to a stronger oil market and higher refining and chemicals margins.
The bumper results follow strong profits posted last month by major oil firms -- including France's Total, Britain's BP and Anglo-Dutch group Shell -- as a recovery in crude prices fuelled their rebound from the pandemic.
"The momentum provided by the global economic recovery has strengthened energy markets," Aramco chief executive Amin Nasser said in a statement.
"Aramco's operational flexibility, financial agility and the resilience of our employees have contributed to a strong first quarter performance."
The strong earnings provide relief to Aramco, Saudi Arabia's cash cow, which has revealed consecutive falls in profits since it began disclosing earnings in 2019.
The company's low earnings piled pressure on government finances as Riyadh faces a ballooning budget deficit and pursues multi-billion dollar projects to diversify its oil-reliant economy.
Saudi Arabia is currently seeking to monetise its energy assets, as it explores new revenue streams to fund its ambitious diversification drive.
Last month, Aramco said it had struck a $12.4-billion deal to sell a minority stake in a newly formed oil pipeline business to a consortium led by US-based EIG Global Energy Partners.