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Last week began with the news from Saudi Arabia that the local state oil company Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Saudi Aramco) in 2018 became the most profitable company in the world.

According to Moody’s international rating agency, the net profit of the largest oil producer (Saudi Aramco accounts for more than 10% of world production) in 2011 was 111.1 billion dollars. This is a record profit among global companies. So, for comparison, the net profit of Apple last year amounted to 59.5 billion dollars, and oil-producing Exxon - 20.8 billion dollars, Bloomberg reports. From the prospectus for investors of the company on the eve of the placement of papers with which the agency got acquainted, for the first time, some data on its financial indicators became known. So, by the end of 2018, the company's revenues amounted to 356 billion dollars, EBITDA - 224 billion dollars. In this case, the company paid income tax of $ 102 billion. According to Moody’s, Saudi Aramco's capex in 2018 amounted to $ 35.1 billion, and the government’s dividends to $ 58.2 billion. In a presentation to potential holders of bonds, Aramco said that the amount of dividend payments on ordinary shares of the company last year amounted to $ 52 billion, Bloomberg added.

Meanwhile, the OPEC + deal to restrict oil production is not fully respected. Russia does not fully comply with the terms of the group agreement. The March level of oil production in Russia was 112,000 barrels a day less than in October 2018 (base figure for the OPEC transaction +). However, under the terms of an international agreement, oil production in Russia should be 228,000 barrels per day less than in October 2018. However, this week Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that in April, oil production in Russia will meet the terms of the OPEC + agreement.

On Wednesday, oil prices rose for the fourth day in a row. Brent came as close as possible to a five-month record - $ 70 per barrel. This is due to the effect of the OPEC agreement and the US sanctions. At the same time, an unexpected increase in oil reserves in the United States kept prices down. Brent international benchmark futures rose by 31 cents or 0.45 percent to $ 69.68 a barrel. At a certain point, the price reached $ 69.96 per barrel - the highest since November 12. West Texas Intermediate futures surged 9 cents or 0.14 percent to $ 62.67 a barrel. The price reached the level of $ 62.99 - the highest since November 7.

Fighting in Libya supported the rise in oil prices. On Thursday, an attack began on Tripoli on the orders of the commander of the Libyan national army, Khalifa Haftar. He noted that this is a response to the demand of the Libyan people to put the power of militants and terrorists in the city to an end. In February 2019, Marshal Haftar took control of Libya’s largest oil field, Al-Sharar. Oil production in Libya due to many years of conflict after the murder of Muammar Kaddafi is unstable. At the same time, Libya does not comply with obligations to restrict production under the OPEC + agreement. The World Bank has estimated at 900 billion dollars the losses of Arab countries from conflicts in recent years.

At the end of the week, the news from Saudi Arabia reappeared. Riyadh has threatened to refuse to pay in dollars for the sale of oil if Washington adopts a bill allowing it to file antitrust claims in US courts against OPEC countries, Reuters reported, citing sources. The bill, known as the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC), is discussed in the US Congress. If accepted, he will allow to sue in American courts with the countries of the oil cartel for price collusion. Experts warn that this law, if adopted, can lead to unpredictable consequences on the oil market. If Riyadh abandons the dollar when trading its oil, it will undermine the status of the US currency as the main reserve, reduce Washington’s influence on world trade and weaken the US ability to apply sanctions against other states, the agency said. However, Saudi Arabia is unlikely to do this, since the chances of adopting the NOPEC bill are not great.

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