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Saudi Aramco reports 44.6 percent drop in third quarter profits

Global demand for crude has been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 November, 2020

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Saudi Aramco says it will distribute a $18.75 billion for the quarter.
Saudi Arabia's state oil firm Aramco reported a 44.6 percent drop in third-quarter net profit on Tuesday, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hammer global demand.

Saudi Aramco's net profit for the third quarter ending September 30 fell to 44.21 billion riyals ($11.8 billion), down from 79.8 billion riyals ($21.3 billion) the previous year.

Oil companies around the world have suffered this year from lower prices, which only recovered slightly since hitting their lowest point in almost two dedcades in March.

"We saw early signs of a recovery in the third quarter due to improved economic activity, despite the headwinds facing global energy markets," Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

Aramco has said it will distribute a dividend of $18.75 billion for the third quarter.

Saudi Arabia relies heavily on dividends from its state oil company to manage its fiscal deficit. Aramco's net profit rose from 24.62 billion riyals in the second quarter, which it attributed to higher oil prices.

Aramco said in October that global demand for crude could recover to pre-coronavirus levels by 2022, contradicting an International Energy Agency projection that said it could take at least a year longer.

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