“In the midst of an energy crisis, Saudi Arabia and its armed wing Aramco remain at the center of the great global oil game”

Losses and profits. Mountains of petrodollars and drone attacks. Sunday, March 20 confirmed that Saudi Aramco was indeed the beating heart of the Saudi kingdom. A few hours after bombings against its facilities by Houthi rebels from neighboring Yemen, the energy giant announced a profit of 110 billion dollars (99 billion euros) in 2021 (+ 124% compared to 2020). But, more than this profit, it is the comments of the CEO of the world’s largest exporter of rough that are instructive.

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Amin Nasser points out that “energy security is essential for billions of people”, and that it will therefore increase its oil production capacity from 12 million to 13 million barrels per day by 2027, but also that of gas (+ 50%) and petrochemical products. “Even though economic conditions have improved considerably, does he nuance all the same, the outlook remains uncertain, due to various macroeconomic and geopolitical factors. » Business as usual.

An investment effort focused on fossil fuels

Not a word about inflation, global warming or the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army, which pushed the barrel of black gold beyond 100 dollars. Riyadh is Moscow’s ally in OPEC+, an informal cartel created in 2016 by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia to keep prices high. With success, since the two countries providing 20% ​​of world production have stopped the collapse of prices. Since 2017, they have also come closer with the purchase by Riyadh of defense equipment, wheat and technologies. This explains his delay in condemning Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.

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In the midst of an energy crisis, Saudi Arabia and its armed wing Aramco remain at the center of the great world oil game. Now less dependent on the United States, which buys little oil from it, it has also moved closer to its major Asian customers, China and India in the lead. In the short term, all calls to produce more launched by Westerners have remained unanswered. Saudi Arabia has other priorities.

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The company deploys, according to Mr. Nasser, “a long-term growth strategy”, based on an investment effort centered on fossil fuels (from 40 billion to 50 billion dollars in 2022) – contrary to the choice of the European majors, which have begun their green transition. It has just transferred 4% of its shares to the Saudi sovereign fund, or 80 billion dollars. Objective: to finance the diversification of an economy included in its “Vision 2030” plan and a post-oil era which, seen from Riyadh, is not for tomorrow.

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