Saudi Aramco: Oil giant sees profits jump as prices surge
Saudi Aramco has posted its highest profits since its 2019 listing as oil and gas prices surge around the world.
The state-owned energy giant saw an 82% jump in profits, with net income topping $39.5bn (£32.2bn) in the first quarter.
In a press release, the firm said it had been boosted by higher prices, as well as an increase in production.
The invasion of Ukraine has seen oil and gas prices skyrocket.
Russia is one of the world's biggest exporters but Western nations have pledged to cut their dependence on the country for energy.
Oil prices were already rising before the Ukraine war as economies started to recover from the Covid pandemic and demand outstripped supply.
Other energy firms including Shell, BP and TotalEnergies have also reported soaring profits as a result, although many are incurring costs exiting operations in Russia.
Energy security 'vital'
Aramco's president and chief executive, Amin Nasser, said on Sunday that the company was "focused on helping meet the world's demand for energy that is reliable, affordable and increasingly sustainable".
"Energy security is vital and we are investing for the long-term," he added.
In March, the oil and gas producer pledged to ramp up investment and boost output significantly over the next five to eight years.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the world's biggest oil exporter that month to try to persuade it to release more oil into world markets in the short-term.
Saudi Arabia is the largest producer in the oil cartel Opec (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and by raising production it could help to reduce energy prices.
But the country has been condemned for a range of human rights abuses: its involvement in the conflict in neighbouring Yemen, the murder in 2018 of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, for jailing dissidents and for widespread use of capital punishment.
Aramco itself also faces security challenges because of the conflict in Yemen, with Huthi rebels targeting some of its sites and temporarily knocking out a big portion of the kingdom's crude production.
Its latest set of results come days after Aramco reclaimed the top spot as the world's most valuable company from Apple for the first time in almost two years.
Aramco also announced on Sunday it would issue 20 billion bonus shares to shareholders - one share for every 10 shares already owned.