Stock - Saudi Aramco
Aramco said it aims to boost its capital expenditure to $40-50 billion in 2022. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Saudi Arabian state oil giant Aramco on Sunday reported a more than doubling of annual net profit in 2021, boosted by higher oil prices, and announced plans to sharply lift capital expenditure in 2022.

The oil giant has benefited from a more than 50 per cent rise in crude prices last year, as increased COVID-19 vaccination rates and loosening restrictions resulted in demand outpacing supply.

Oil prices surged past $100 a barrel last month after Russia attacked Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation.” Net profit rose to $110 billion for the year that ended December 31, from $49 billion a year earlier.

Analysts had expected a net profit of $106 billion in 2021, according to the mean estimate of analysts in Refinitiv’s Eikon.

Aramco said it aims to boost its capital expenditure to $40-50 billion in 2022, with further growth expected until around the middle of the decade.

Capital expenditure in 2021 was $31.9 billion, an increase of 18 per cent from 2020.

Aramco plans to raise crude oil “maximum sustainable capacity” to 13 million barrels a day by 2027, and wants to boost gas production by more than 50 per cent by 2030.

Aramco also intends to develop a significant hydrogen export capability and become a global leader in carbon capture and storage, it said.

Although economic conditions have improved considerably, the outlook remains uncertain due to various macro-economic and geopolitical factors,” CEO Amin Nasser said in a statement.

“But our investment plan aims to tap into rising long-term demand for reliable, affordable and ever more secure and sustainable energy.” Aramco, which only ranks behind Apple and Microsoft in market value, declared a dividend of $75 billion for 2021, in line with its earlier pledge.