Oil giant Saudi Aramco has reported a net income of $21.7bn for the first quarter of 2021, a surge of 30% from $16.6bn a year ago.
The jump in profit was primarily driven by a rebound in global oil prices and higher refining and chemicals margins.
Brent crude slumped to almost $20 a barrel at its lowest point in 2020, which has averaged approximately $60 a barrel in recent months.
However, the quarterly profit was partially offset by lower production. On average, the company produced 8.6 million barrels per day in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 9.2 million barrels a day in 2020.
The company’s free cash flow in the first three months of 2021 was $18.3bn, against $15bn in the corresponding period last year.
The oil giant’s capital expenditure in the first quarter stood at $8.2bn.
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Aramco announced a dividend of $18.8bn for the first quarter, which is in line with the company’s forecast of $75bn in dividends this year.
Saudi Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser said: “The momentum provided by the global economic recovery has strengthened energy markets.
“Given the positive signs for energy demand in 2021, there are more reasons to be optimistic that better days are coming. And while some headwinds still remain, we are well-positioned to meet the world’s growing energy needs as economies start to recover.”
The company reported an average total hydrocarbon production of 11.5 million barrels per day of oil equivalent in the first quarter of 2021, including 8.6 million barrels per day of crude oil.