LONDON (BBC): The state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco plans to sharply increase the amount it invests in energy production, after it reported a doubling of profits in 2021. The firm aims to boost output significantly over the next five years.
Energy prices have soared in recent months as demand has outstripped supplies of oil and gas.
The war in Ukraine and a reluctance to rely on Russia for energy has added to the pressure to find additional sources of energy. Saudi Aramco’s move is likely to be welcomed by political leaders worried about the impact of high energy prices, although the boost to investment is aimed at increasing output over the course of the next five to eight years. Last week prime minister Boris Johnson visited Saudi Arabia to try to persuade the country to release more oil into world markets in the short term.
Saudi Arabia is the largest producer in the oil cartel Opec (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and by raising production it could help to reduce energy prices which are currently at 14-year highs. However, the country has been condemned for a range of human rights abuses: its involvement in the conflict in neighbouring Yemen, the murder in 2018 of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, for jailing dissidents and for widespread use of capital punishment.
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