Oil giant Saudi Aramco on Sunday unveiled record profits of US$48.4 billion in the second quarter of 2022, after Russia's war in Ukraine and a post-pandemic surge in demand sent crude prices soaring.
Net income leapt 90 percent year-on-year for the world's biggest oil producer, which clocked its second straight quarterly record after announcing US$39.5 billion for Q1.
Aramco is just the latest oil major to rake in eye-watering sums after ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, TotalEnergies and Eni also revealed multi-billion-dollar profits in the second quarter.
"While global market volatility and economic uncertainty remain, events during the first half of this year support our view that ongoing investment in our industry is essential," said Aramco president and CEO Amin H. Nasser. "In fact, we expect oil demand to continue to grow for the rest of the decade."
Net income rose 22.7 percent from Q1 in "strong market conditions", Aramco said. Half-year profits were US$87.9 billion, up from US$47.2 billion for the same period of 2021.
State-owned Aramco floated 1.7 percent of its shares on the Saudi bourse in December 2019, generating US$29.4 billion in the world's biggest initial public offering.
The "crown jewel" and leading source of income for the conservative kingdom temporarily supplanted Apple as the world's most valuable company in March. It now lies second in the list with a market valuation of US$2.4 trillion.
Saudi Arabia has sought to open up and diversify its oil-reliant economy, especially since Mohammed bin Salman's appointment as crown prince and de facto ruler in 2017.
Despite raising production, Aramco has pledged to reach "operational net zero (carbon) emissions" by 2050. Carbon pollution is tallied in the country that uses the fuel, not where it is produced.
Earlier this month, the International Energy Agency said global oil demand will rise more than previously forecast this year as heatwaves and soaring gas prices prompt countries to switch fuels for power generation.
Oil prices have dropped by US$30 per barrel from a peak in June due to growing supplies, but remain close to US$100.
The OPEC group of oil-producing countries has been gradually raising production, despite pressure from Western leaders including US President Joe Biden – who visited Saudi Arabia last month – to pump more.
Biden's trip was seen as a climb-down after he previously promised to make Saudi Arabia a "pariah" over the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Turkey in 2018. (AFP)