RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: Oil giant Saudi Aramco has announced 2022 earnings totaling $161 billion, the highest-ever annual profit by a publicly listed company, which immediately drew criticism from activists.
The record profit was due to rising energy prices after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, and subsequent sanctions that limited the sale of Russian oil and natural gas to Western countries.
As China is re-entering the global market after the end of its coronavirus restrictions, Aramco also plans to increase production to take advantage of market demand.
However, high energy prices have driven global inflation and strained relations between Riyadh and Washington.
In a statement, Saudi Aramco CEO and President Amin H. Nasser said, "Given that we anticipate oil and gas will remain essential for the foreseeable future, the risks of underinvestment in our industry are real, including contributing to higher energy prices."
Compared to its 2021 profits of $110 billion, Saudi Aramco's profits rose 46.5 percent in 2022.
Aramco also declared a dividend of $19.5 billion for the fourth quarter of 2022, which will be paid in the first quarter of 2023.
Aramco's results mirror the 2022 profits announced by other energy giants, such as BP, Exxon Mobil and Shell, but the Saudi company's $161 billion profit overshadowed its own previous results.
Like China and Russia, Saudi Arabia has pledged to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2060, but it has not confirmed how it will reach that goal.