Saudi Aramco’s profit soared in the first quarter following a recovery in global oil and gas markets, though free cash flow remained too low to fully cover dividend payments.
The world’s biggest energy company kept its quarterly payout, almost all of which goes to the Saudi Arabian government, at $18.75bn. The money is vital for the kingdom as it tries to narrow a budget deficit that ballooned last year, with the coronavirus pandemic sinking oil prices and shutting down local businesses.
The bumper results follow those last week of big oil rivals such as Royal Dutch Shell and BP, whose earnings are back to pre-pandemic levels as major economies reopen and more people are vaccinated. Brent crude has gained over 30 per cent this year to top $68 a barrel.
“There are more reasons to be optimistic that better days are coming,” CEO Amin Nasser said in a statement Tuesday.
“The momentum provided by the global economic recovery has strengthened energy...read more...