Saudi Aramco’s production facility at Shaybah oilfield in the Empty Quarter, Saudi Arabia. (Reuters pic)

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco posted a 12% decline in first-half profit as the world’s biggest oil exporter reported semi-annual results for the first time.

Net income was US$46.9 billion in the first six months of the year, down from US$53 billion a year earlier, state-owned Aramco said Monday in a statement.

That reflects a decline in the price of crude and an increase in costs. Company officials have said it could sell shares in 2020 or 2021.

Aramco will hold its first-ever earnings call with investors later Monday as it tiptoes toward the greater disclosure required of public companies.

It published annual financial statements for the first time in April, ahead of a US$12 billion bond sale.

An initial public offering would put the Saudi giant under even greater scrutiny from investors and invite comparisons with other oil majors.

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