FILE PHOTO: Saudi Aramco engineers and journalists look at the Hawiyah Natural Gas Liquids Recovery Plant in Hawiyah, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia on June 28, 2021. AP
The oil firm's profits will help fund the kingdom's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plans for a futuristic city on the Red Sea coast, but also comes as the U.S. grows increasingly frustrated by higher prices at the pump chewing into American consumer's wallets.
Those tensions yet again have chilled relations between Riyadh and Washington before the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
In a note to investors, the predominantly state-owned oil company said its average barrel of crude sold for $101.70 in the third quarter - up from $72.80 at the same point last year. It's Aramco's second-largest quarterly profit in its history, just before its second-quarter results this year saw a profit of $48.4 billion.
It put its profits so far in 2022 at $130.3 billion, compared to $77.6 billion in 2021.
``While global crude oil prices during this period were affected by continued economic uncertainty, our long-term view is that oil demand will continue to grow for the rest of the decade given the world's need for more affordable and reliable energy,'' Aramco CEO Amin H. Nasser said in a statement.
Aramco will keep its dividend this quarter at $18.8 billion, the world's highest.
Benchmark Brent crude traded just shy of $95 a barrel Tuesday. The sliver of Aramco that the kingdom has put on Riyadh's Tadawul stock market stood at $9.29 a share before trading Tuesday - putting its valuation at just over $2 trillion. Only Apple's valuation, at $2.44 trillion, is higher.
OPEC and a loose confederation of other countries led by Russia agreed in early October to cut its production by 2 million barrels of oil a day, beginning in November.
OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, has insisted its decision came from concerns about the global economy. Analysts in the U.S. and Europe warn a recession looms in the West from inflation and subsequent interest rate hikes, as well as food and oil supplies being affected by Russia's war on Ukraine.
In Washington, anger has grown with Saudi Arabia, particularly from President Joe Biden, who traveled to the kingdom in July and shared a fist bump with Crown Prince Mohammed. Biden recently warned the kingdom that ``there's going to be some consequences for what they've done.''
Saudi Arabia lashed back, publicly claiming the Biden administration sought a one-month delay in the OPEC cuts that could have helped reduce the risk of a spike in gas prices ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.
Biden on Monday separately accused oil companies of ``war profiteering'' as he raised the possibility of imposing a windfall tax on American energy companies if they don't boost domestic production.