RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) – Saudi Aramco announced on Sunday that its net profit for 2021 increased by more than 120 percent owing to higher crude prices, as global economic growth rebounded from a pandemic-induced dip.

The declaration came just hours after Yemen’s Huthi rebels, against whom Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition, launched cross-border armed drone raids on various places, including Aramco installations.

Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s cash cow, declined to comment on whether the strikes caused any harm.

“Aramco’s net income climbed by 124% to $110.0 billion in 2021 from $49.0 billion in 2020,” the firm stated in a statement.

Before the coronavirus epidemic hit global markets in 2019, Aramco had a net income of $88.2 billion, resulting in massive losses for the oil and aviation sectors, among others.

Oil prices recovered from their 2020 lows thanks to a robust comeback last year, and they have risen to levels not seen since 2014 this year, owing to global supply constraints and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In December 2019, Aramco launched 1.7 percent of its shares on the Saudi exchange, raising $29.4 billion in the world’s largest initial public offering.

“Our outstanding results are a tribute to our financial discipline, flexibility in the face of changing market conditions, and unwavering commitment to our long-term growth plan,” Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser said in a statement.

“Although economic circumstances have improved significantly,” he stated, “the prognosis remains unpredictable owing to a variety of macroeconomic and geopolitical concerns.”

“However, our investment strategy intends to capitalise on expanding long-term demand for dependable, cheap, and increasingly secure and sustainable energy,” he said.

“We recognise that energy security is critical for billions of people worldwide, which is why we continue to make progress on growing our crude oil production capacity, executing our gas development programme, and boosting our liquids to chemicals capability.”

Since the ascension of Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince in 2017, Saudi Arabia has moved to diversify its oil-dominated economy.

The kingdom, one of the world’s largest petroleum producers, transferred four percent of Aramco shares worth $80 billion to the country’s sovereign wealth fund in February.

The move was also seen as an indication that Saudi Arabia aims to further open up the Arab world’s greatest oil powerhouse and “crown jewel,” the Saudi economy.

Last year, the crown prince stated that Aramco was in discussions to sell a 1% interest to a foreign oil conglomerate.

Brent crude is presently trading for more than $100 a barrel, owing in part to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia is the world’s largest producer of gas and one of the world’s major producers of oil, and it is facing increasing Western sanctions.

Saudi Arabia, an oil-rich Gulf country, has so far resisted Western pressure to increase oil supply in order to control prices, emphasising its adherence to the OPEC+ coalition of oil producers, which Riyadh and Moscow both belong to.

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