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Amin Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco. Photo: -/AFP via Getty Images

Saudi Aramco plans to cut 2020 spending by billions of dollars below last year's levels as the spread of the novel coronavirus craters global oil consumption and pushes down prices.

Why it matters: Aramco is the world's largest oil-producing company. Sunday's announcement underscores how COVID-19 and the oil market's upheaval is affecting the energy landscape.

The big picture: The company said capital spending this year would range from $25 billion to $30 billion. That's down from almost $33 billion last year and, as Bloomberg notes, a sharp revision from prior plans to spend $35 billion–$40 billion in 2020.

  • “The recent COVID-19 outbreak and its rapid spread illustrate the importance of agility and adaptability in an ever-changing global landscape," president and CEO Amin Nasser said in a statement alongside Aramco's 2019 financial results.

By the numbers: Aramco on Sunday said its full-year profit in 2018 was $88 billion, compared to $111 billion the previous year.

  • That's "primarily due to lower crude oil prices and production volumes," though declining margins in its refining and chemicals business played a role too, the company said.
  • Nonetheless, Reuters points out that Aramco "remains the world’s most profitable company, beating Western oil majors such as Exxon Mobil Corp, and Apple Inc, which made $55 billion in its last financial year that ended in September."

What's next: Aramco, which began selling shares on the Saudi's domestic stock exchange last year, is cutting prices and planning to boost oil supplies to the market this year.

  • Those plans follow this month's collapse of OPEC's joint production-limiting agreement with Russia, which is prompting a push for market share at lower prices.

Go deeper: Saudi Aramco’s profits slip as oil prices Fall (New York Times)

Go deeper

22 mins ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

14 hours ago - Economy & Business

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.