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Saudi Aramco Q3 profit soars on higher prices, volumes sold

Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 2018.   © Reuters

DUBAI (Reuters) -- Saudi Arabian state oil producer Aramco said on Sunday its third-quarter net profit more than doubled, boosted by higher crude oil prices and volumes sold, beating analysts forecasts.

Net income jumped to $30.4 billion for the quarter to Sept. 30 from $11.8 billion a year earlier, it said in a bourse filing. That was above the median net profit forecast of $28.4 billion from four analysts.

"Our exceptional third quarter performance was a result of increased economic activity in key markets and a rebound in energy demand, as well as our unique low-cost position," Amin Nasser, Aramco's chief executive, said in a statement.

Oil prices have rallied to multi-year highs with global crude futures climbing 4.5% in the quarter, helped by the decision by OPEC+ to maintain its planned output increase rather than raising it on global supply concerns.

Brent oil futures are trading around $84.4 a barrel, up about 63% so far this year, while benchmark U.S. crude is at roughly $83.57 a barrel, up just over 70% over the same period.

Aramco's capital expenditure rose 19% from a year earlier to $7.6 billion in the quarter.

The company's free cash flow rose to $28.7 billion from $12.4 billion. It declared a dividend of $18.8 billion for the third quarter, in line with its guidance.

Higher oil prices and volumes have boosted Aramco's share price nearly 8% this year, valuing the oil giant at $2 trillion.

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