Saudi Aramco’s net income plunged by nearly 50% in 2020, according to figures.
The Saudi Arabia’s state-backed oil giant announced on Sunday that its profits in 2020 had fallen to $49 billion (€41 billion) as the coronavirus pandemic roiled global energy markets.
Saudi Arabian Oil Co released its financial results a year after the pandemic sent the price of oil crashing to all-time lows as people stopped moving around the world to stem the spread of the virus.
In recent weeks, however, the price has edged up as movement restrictions ease, commerce increases and more people get vaccinated against Covid-19.
But analysts caution that a peak in demand may still be some way off.
Despite the sharp drop in oil revenue, Aramco said it would stick to its promise of paying quarterly dividends of $18.75 billion — $75 billion a year — due to commitments the company made to shareholders in the run-up to its initial public offering.
Nearly all of the dividend money goes to the Saudi government, which owns more than 98% of the company.
The public figures, obligatory since the firm listed a sliver of its worth on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange in 2019, offers valuable insight into the health of the region’s largest economy.
Despite Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts to diversify the economy away from oil, the kingdom remains heavily dependent on oil exports to fuel government spending.
Saudi Aramco’s profit of $49 billion in 2020 is down from $88.2 billion in 2019 and $111.1 billion in 2018.