© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed natural gas pipeline is placed in front of displayed Saudi Aramco logo in this illustration taken February 8, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
DUBAI(Reuters) – Saudi Arabian state oil giant Aramco (SE:) on Sunday reported a more than doubling of annual net profit in 2021, boosted by higher oil prices, and announced plans to sharply lift capital expenditure in 2022.
The oil giant has benefited from a more than 50% rise in crude prices last year, as increased COVID 19 vaccination rates and loosening restrictions resulted in demand outpacing supply.
Oil prices surged past $100 a barrel last month after Russia invaded Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation.”
Net profit rose to $110 billion for the year that ended December 31, from $49 billion a year earlier.
Analysts had expected a net profit of $106 billion in 2021, according to the mean estimate of analysts in Refinitiv’s Eikon.
Aramco said it aims to boost its capital expenditure to $40-50 billion in 2022, with further growth expected until around the middle of the decade.
Capital expenditure in 2021 was $31.9 billion, an increase of 18% from 2020.
Aramco plans to raise “maximum sustainable capacity” to 13 million barrels a day by 2027, and wants to boost gas production by more than 50% by 2030.
Aramco also intends to develop a significant hydrogen export capability and become a global leader in Carbon Capture and Storage, it said.
“Although economic conditions have improved considerably, the outlook remains uncertain due to various macro-economic and geopolitical factors,” CEO Amin Nasser said in a statement.
“But our investment plan aims to tap into rising long-term demand for reliable, affordable and ever more secure and sustainable energy.”
Aramco, which only ranks behind Apple (NASDAQ:) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:) in market value , declared a dividend of $75 billion for 2021, in line with its earlier pledge.
($1 = 3.7515 riyals)
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