RIYADH (AFP) - Energy giant Saudi Aramco said Tuesday its first quarter profits jumped 30 percent compared to the same period last year on the back of higher oil prices.
"Aramco’s net income was $21.7 billion for the first quarter, a 30 percent increase from $16.7 billion in Q1 2020, primarily driven by a stronger oil market and higher refining and chemicals margins, partly offset by lower production," the company said in a statement.
The news follows consecutive falls in quarterly profits last year owing to low oil prices and production cuts as the coronavirus pandemic sapped global energy demand.
"The momentum provided by the global economic recovery has strengthened energy markets, and Aramco’s operational flexibility, financial agility and the resilience of our employees have contributed to a strong first quarter performance," Aramco chief executive Amin Nasser said.
Saudi Arabia is currently seeking to monetise its energy assets to generate revenue for an ambitious effort to diversify its oil-reliant economy.
Last month, Aramco said it had struck a $12.4-billion deal to sell a minority stake in a newly formed oil pipeline business to a consortium led by US-based EIG Global Energy Partners.
In late April, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Saudi Arabia, the top crude exporter, was in talks to sell one percent of Aramco to an unnamed foreign energy firm.
Aramco is exploring new revenue streams as it faces pressure to maintain hefty dividend payments to the Saudi government, its biggest shareholder, since it began disclosing earnings in 2019.
Aramco previously sold a sliver of its shares on the Saudi bourse in December 2019, generating $29.4 billion in the world’s biggest initial public offering.
The energy giant could announce another offering of shares to international investors within the next year or two, the prince said.