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Saudi Aramco's Q2 net profit plunges 73.4% on lower oil prices

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Saudi state oil group Aramco on Sunday reported a 73.4 per cent fall in second-quarter net profit, a steeper drop than analysts had forecast, and said it expected capital expenditure for 2020 to be at the lower end of a US$25 billion to US$30 billion range.

[DUBAI] Saudi state oil group Aramco on Sunday reported a 73.4 per cent fall in second-quarter net profit, a steeper drop than analysts had forecast, and said it expected capital expenditure for 2020 to be at the lower end of a US$25 billion to US$30 billion range.

The world's biggest oil exporter said the rapid spread of Covid-19 globally had significantly reduced demand for crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products.

"We are seeing a partial recovery in the energy market as countries around the world take steps to ease restrictions and reboot their economies," chief executive Amin Nasser said in a statement.

Net profit fell to 24.6 billion riyals (S$8.99 billion) for the quarter to June 30 from 92.6 billion riyals a year earlier.

Analysts had expected a net profit of 31.3 billion riyals in the second quarter, according to the mean estimate from three analysts, provided by Refinitiv.

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All major oil companies have taken a hit in the second quarter as lockdowns to contain the coronavirus limited travel, which hurt oil demand and sent oil prices tumbling to levels not seen in nearly two decades.

Brent crude prices at the end of the second quarter were down 38 per cent from a year earlier, despite an agreement by OPEC+ producers to cut oil supply by a record 9.7 million barrel per day from May to help to shore up prices and curb oversupply.

Aramco said it would distribute a dividend of US$18.75 billion for the second quarter of this year, in line with its plan to pay a base dividend of US$75 billion for 2020.

BP earlier this month cut its dividend for the first time in a decade after a record US$6.7 billion second-quarter loss, while Royal Dutch Shell in April cut its dividend for the first time since World War Two.

REUTERS

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