Saudi Aramco‘s profits from oil make the hunt for superlatives comical. How many ways you you say humongous or gigonormous or whichever invented word you try? But the droll and invariably entertaining Matt Levine at Bloomberg points out his favorite line in the preposterously monstrously gigantic income statement revealed in the prospectus for Saudi Aramco’s new bond offering. Levine points out that while he’s impressed by the company’s $111 billion per year net income — bigger than Apple and Google and some other biggies combined — what really knocks him out is this:
“Aramco loses 10,000 barrels of oil per day. That’s “loses” in the strictest sense: It loads them on a truck or ship or pipeline, and then when it goes to unload them they’re not there any more. They’ve evaporated or leaked or shrunk or whatever. It’s not a big thing, just one line and a footnote on one page of the discussion of operations. The number is tiny, hardly worth mentioning, 0.1 percent of Aramco’s total output. It’s also the equivalent of about 14 train cars full of oil vanishing every day, or losing about one supertanker full of oil (more than $200 million worth) every year. If you had a supertanker full of oil you probably would not misplace it. Aramco just has too much oil to care.”
Is it stolen? Is it just bad logistics? 10,000 barrels a day! How may iPhones does Apple lose each year, one wonders. The Saudi Aramco company is 100% owned by the country of Saudi Arabia.