Oil giant Saudi Aramco has reported a net profit of $161.1bn for 2022, an increase of 46% compared with $110bn in the same period a year ago, benefiting from higher crude oil prices.

The company attributed the surge in profit to increased volumes sold and improved refined products’ margins.

The Saudi oil giant’s cash flow from operating activities increased to $186.2bn during the year, from $139.4bn in 2021.

Free cash flow stood at $148.5bn versus $107.5bn in 2021.

Aramco president and CEO Amin H Nasser said: “Given that we anticipate oil and gas will remain essential for the foreseeable future, the risks of under investment in our industry are real, including contributing to higher energy prices.

“To leverage our unique advantages at scale and be part of the global solution, Aramco has embarked on the largest capital spending program in its history, and last year our capex rose by 18.0% to reach $37.6bn.

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“Our focus is not only on expanding oil, gas and, chemicals production, but also investing in new lower-carbon technologies, with potential to achieve additional emission reductions in our own operations and for end users of our products.”

In 2022, Aramco reported an average hydrocarbon production rate of 13.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. This includes 11.5 million barrels per day of total liquids.

The firm’s capital expenditure for the full year 2022 stood at $37.6bn, up 18% year-on-year.

For this year, the company anticipates capital expenditure to range between $45bn to $55bn, including external investments.

Furthermore, the Saudi Arabian state oil giant declared $19.5bn in dividends for the fourth quarter of 2022. This is planned to be paid in the first quarter of 2023.

Aramco is also planning to issue bonus shares to eligible shareholders, who would receive one share for every ten shares owned.