From Gulf Business

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Thursday that he still expected national oil giant Saudi Aramco to conduct a public offer of its shares in 2018. This was reported by Gulf Business and other media outlets in the Middle East.

Falih was speaking at a conference in Abu Dhabi. Riyadh has said it plans to sell up to 5 per cent of the company in what could be the world’s largest initial public offer of equity, raising tens of billions of dollars.

Officials have been working since early last year on complex details of the offer, including legal conditions, how to value Aramco’s assets, and on which exchanges its shares would be listed.

Al-Falih also said that he expected tightness in the global oil market in two or three years.

He predicted global demand for oil would grow by well over one million barrels per day in 2017.

The oil market has been moving towards a balance of supply and demand and December’s agreement by OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cut output will accelerate that process, he said.

The deal is for six months and producers will consider later whether to renew it, he added.

Prior reporting by Gulf Business:

Saudi Aramco is targeting 2018 for what could be the world’s largest public listing as it expects oil prices and market conditions to improve in the coming years, its chief executive Amin Nasser said at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul in October. Nasser said that all markets were still being considered for the initial public offering (IPO) of up to 5 per cent of Aramco, though the exact size of the offering will be determined by the Saudi Supreme Council.

“We are optimistic that the market started to recover and we expect it to recover even more in 2017 and I think the time in 2018 will be almost right,” Nasser said.

“When we talk about 2018 we feel comfortable to be able to meet all the requirements in the different markets if we decide to go to certain markets.”

He said Aramco has yet to finalise the location of the listing and is currently reviewing several markets including New York, London, Hong Kong and Japan.

Saudi’s Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, unveiled ambitious plans earlier this year aimed at ending the country’s “addiction” to oil and transforming it into a global investment power. The listing of less than 5 percent of state-run Aramco is a centrepiece of that effort.

Nasser said that Aramco, whose exact size has yet to be publicly disclosed, is ready to share financial information with investors.

“We have a very good governance model and we would be more than happy to share our financials with investors when we go public,” he said.

Aramco has increased its oil production to record levels in recent months as oil producing companies vied for global market share in a struggle that has led to a more than halving of oil prices since June 2014.

Although revenues have dropped, Nasser said the company plans to invest $300bn over the next decade, with the focus on gas.

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