Saudi Oil Giant Aramco Announces $121 Billion Profit Last Year, Down From 2022 Record

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Saudi oil giant Aramco on Sunday reported it made $121 billion in profit last year, down from its 2022 record due to lower energy prices.

The results still marked the company's second highest ever result, Aramco said, as members of the OPEC+ alliance continue to cut their production to try to boost global energy prices. However, lower results also squeeze the kingdom as it embarks on a massive development project under its assertive crown prince to wean itself off oil revenues.

Aramco had reported a $161 billion profit in 2022, likely the largest ever reported by a publicly traded company.

"The decrease mainly reflects the impact of lower crude oil prices and lower volumes sold, and weakening refining and chemicals margins," the company said in its filing to the Tadawul stock market.

Despite being lower this year, Aramco boosted the dividends due to its stock holders to over $31 billion in the fourth quarter, according to filings.

The energy giant had planned a conference call Monday to discuss its results.

Aramco reported overall revenue of $440 billion last year, down from $535 billion in 2022.

"Our resilience and agility contributed to healthy cash flows and high levels of profitability, despite a backdrop of economic headwinds," said Aramco CEO Amin H. Nasser in a statement.

Aramco, formally known as the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., put its output at 12.8 million barrels of oil a day. The company has been ordered by the Saudi government to keep its production there despite earlier plans to increase output.

Saudi Arabia, a leader in the OPEC cartel, has allied with Russia and others outside of the group to try to keep production down to boost global oil prices. Benchmark Brent crude traded under $82 a barrel on Sunday.

Aramco has a market value of $2 trillion, making it the world's fourth most valuable firm, behind Apple, Microsoft and NVIDIA respectively. Aramco stock traded slightly up on the Tadawul at $8.64 a share Sunday.

Saudi Arabia's vast oil resources, located close to the surface of its desert expanse, make it one of the world's least expensive places to produce crude. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hopes to use the oil wealth to pivot the kingdom off oil sales, such as with his planned $500 billion futuristic desert city, called Neom, and other projects.

Meanwhile, activists criticized the profits amid global concerns about the burning of fossil fuels accelerating climate change.

On Thursday, Prince Mohammed transferred another 8% of Aramco shares to the country's prominent sovereign wealth fund, worth over $160 billion. The vast majority of the company remains held by the Al Saud royal family, with a sliver traded on the Tadawul stock market.