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Aug 07, 2023

Aramco pledges $29.4 bn payouts to investors and government despite lapsing profits

Oil giant saw profits fall by nearly a third in second quarter

Saudi oil giant Aramco has pledged to return nearly $30 bn to shareholders and the Saudi government despite profits dropping by almost a third.

In its second quarter earnings report, the world’s biggest oil firm said it will offer total payouts to investors and the Saudi government of $29.4 bn in the third quarter including performance-linked dividends of $9.87 bn.

The payouts pledge comes at the same time as the petroleum refineries company saw profits for the three-month period drop to $30 bn from $48.4 bn the previous year.

The $2.08 tn giant cited inflationary pressure and economic uncertainty as affecting factors. The oil conglomerate also flagged the decline in crude oil prices and ‘weakening’ refining and chemicals margins as reasons for profit drops.

‘Safeguard energy security’

Amin Nasser, president and CEO of Aramco, says despite the fall in profits, the company’s mid to long-term view remains unchanged. ‘With a recovery anticipated in the broader global economy, along with increased activity in the aviation sector, ongoing investments in energy projects will be necessary to safeguard energy security,’ Nasser says.

Aramco pledges $29.4 bn payouts to investors and government despite lapsing profits
Amin Nasser, Aramco

‘We remain optimistic about the potential for new technologies to reduce our operational emissions and our recent blue ammonia shipments to Asia highlight the growing market interest in the potential of alternative, lower carbon energy solutions.’

ESG contributions

Last month Nasser was appointed to the BlackRock board of directors, a move which sparked the question of whether the investment management company was leaning into ESG.

In 2021, under Nasser’s leadership, Aramco set ambitious climate plans which include having net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions across its assets by 2050.

Addressing delegates at the Saudi Capital Markets Forum 2023, Nasser said that as far as the future of capital markets is concerned, ESG is clearly a rising trend.

‘In my view, an increased emphasis on ESG is a move in the right direction,’ he remarked.