Saudi Aramco: Record $161bn profit by oil giant during global cost of living crisis branded 'shocking'

Oil company Saudi Aramco has reported earning $161bn (£134bn) last year - the highest-ever recorded annual profit by a publicly listed company.

Coming at a time of spiking energy prices as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, profits rose 46.5% when compared to the company's 2021 results of $110bn (£91.4bn).

The profit by the Saudi firm, known formally as the Saudi Arabian Oil Co, came as Western sanctions limited the sale of Russian oil and natural gas.

A vast majority of Saudi Aramco shares are owned by the Saudi government despite it being publicly listed.

Amnesty International's secretary-general, Agnès Callamard, criticised Aramco's annual profit coming amid global concerns about climate change.

"It is shocking for a company to make a profit of more than $161bn in a single year through the sale of fossil fuel - the single largest driver of the climate crisis," she said in a statement.

"It is all the more shocking because this surplus was amassed during a global cost of living crisis and aided by the increase in energy prices resulting from Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine."

Ms Callamard also noted that Saudi Arabia remains one of the world's top executioners while also remaining locked in a years-long war in Yemen and cracking down on dissent.

"These extraordinary profits, and any future income derived from Aramco, should not be deployed to finance human rights abuses, cover them up, or try and gloss over them," she said.

High Saudi oil prices have further strained ties between the kingdom and the US, which traditionally acts as a security guarantor among the Gulf Arab states amid tensions with Iran.

President Joe Biden had warned Saudi Arabia that "there's going to be some consequences for what they've done" in terms of oil prices.