Saudi Aramco Recorded a Historic $161B Profit in 2022

    Saudi Aramco Recorded a Historic $161B Profit in 2022
    Last updated Mar 13, 2023
    Image credit: AP [via Al Jazeera]


    • Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia, reported that it earned $161B last year — the highest-ever annual profit recorded by a publicly listed company. The announcement drew immediate criticism from activists concerned about climate change.
    • Aramco is the latest energy firm to report record profits following soaring energy prices and bigger volumes. Earlier this year, ExxonMobil and Shell showed record 2022 results at $55.7B and $39.9B, respectively; Aramco's profit represents a 46.5% rise compared with last year.
    • The company's profits last year were almost triple those of Exxon and more than four times those of Shell, Chevron, and BP — all of which are performing at record levels.
    • Aramco also declared a dividend of $19.5B for Q4 of 2022, a 4% increase from the previous quarter, which will be paid out in the first quarter of this year. The company's board has recommended that shareholders be issued bonus shares, with one new share being given for every 10 shares owned.
    • Aramco CEO and President Amin Nasser said, "Given that we anticipate oil and gas will remain essential for the foreseeable future, the risks of underinvestment in our industry are real — including contributing to higher energy prices."


    Narrative A

    Oil prices swung wildly throughout the globe after Russia invaded Ukraine which, as was the case with many other oil companies, led to higher profits. However, profits in and of themselves don't mean something nefarious occurred. Aramco will be able to take these record amounts and invest them in cleaner, lower-carbon energy sources in pursuit of a greener future.

    Narrative B

    Saudi Arabia, with a long history of human rights abuses within its own border and also in Yemen, should not be using Aramco's extraordinary profits to finance these atrocities. Instead, Aramco should fund a human rights-based transition to renewable energy.

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