Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing plant. Photo: AFP/Fayez Nureldine

Saudi Aramco on Sunday reported a 20.6 percent drop in its net profit for 2019 due to low oil prices and production levels, the company said in a statement.

These are the first annual results to be announced by Aramco after its historical $29.4 billion initial public offering and listing on the Saudi Tadawul market last December.

The energy giant posted net profits of $88.2 billion last year compared with $111.1 billion in 2018, Monday’s statement said.

“The decrease was primarily due to lower crude oil prices and production volumes, coupled with declining refining and chemical margins,” Aramco said.

It also said it has made $ 1.6 billion of impairment provisions for losses associated with Sadara Chemical Company, an Aramco subsidiary.

“2019 was an exceptional year for Saudi Aramco. Through a variety of circumstances – some planned and some not – the world was offered unprecedented insight into Saudi Aramco’s agility and resilience,” CEO Amin Nasser said.

“Our unique scale, low costs, and resilience came together to deliver both growth and world-leading returns, while also maintaining our position as one of the world’s most reliable energy companies,” Nasser said.

The results were announced amid a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia after they failed to agree on additional output cuts to support prices dented by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The recent Covid-19 outbreak and its rapid spread illustrate the importance of agility and adaptability in an ever-changing global landscape,” Nasser said. 

The kingdom said last week Aramco will pump 12.3 million barrels of oil per day, boosting output by at least 2.5 million bpd.

It also announced plans to raise production capacity from 12 million bpd to 13 million bpd.