Aramco, the Saudi oil giant, has reported profits of $48.4bn for the second quarter 2022 (PS40bn), a 90% increase year-over-year.
This sum broke the firm’s quarterly profit record of May. The reason for this was the soaring energy prices caused by Vladimir Putin’s invasion in Ukraine, which resulted in huge windfalls for oil producers.
This figure of $48.4bn is more than the profits of all six months last year (PS39bn), which reached $47bn.
It also marks the company’s highest quarterly earnings ever since it was listed publicly in 2019. In 2019, the Saudigovernment which holds 98% of the firm, also sold a 1.7% share primarily to the Saudi public institutions and regional institutions.
Aramco’s half year profits reached $87.9bn, or PS72.4m, as global oil prices remain high. This puts Aramco on track for far exceeding the full-year earnings in 2019, which was $88bn before the pandemic.
According to the company, profits resulted primarily from higher crude oil prices and volumes and higher refining margins.
The invasion of Ukraine by President Putin has led to the west pledging to reduce their dependence on Russian oil.
However, oil prices rose before the war because countries had recovered from the pandemic, and the supply was not able to keep up with the demand.
Global energy companies like BP and Shell have seen their earnings rise to the highest level in over a decade, despite the fact that many of them lost assets due to Russia’s exit.
There have been increasing calls for a UK windfall tax on oil companies to help families cope with the rising cost of living crisis.
Since over a year, the Labour Party has called for a windfall tax to be applied to oil companies’ profits. Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband had previously stated that it was “an unanswerable situation”.
According to the party, funds from this tax could be used for extra support of UK households amid the current cost of living crisis.
The Saudi economy has seen a significant boost from the rising oil prices. It reported its fastest economic growth rate in 10 years during the first quarter.
However, Liz Truss, Conservative leader candidate, defended earnings at energy firms amid rising prices, saying profits shouldn’t be considered “dirty or evil”.
She called the idea of a windfall income tax “bashing business”.
A windfall tax is an additional charge that companies who have been able to benefit from circumstances not their fault are subject to.