Saudi Arabia will be selling shares in Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer, through an IPO, but only at the right time, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has said.
“We are committed to the IPO of Saudi Aramco based on appropriate conditions and at the right time,” Prince Mohammed said in an interview in pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, as reported by AFP.
The crown prince reiterated his earlier expectations that the IPO of Saudi Aramco “will take place in [late] 2020 or the start of 2021,” almost two years later than expected, according to AFP’s report. He did not, however, announce where the IPO will be held.
Mohammed bin Salman first floated the idea to sell 5 per cent of Aramco in 2016 and raise as much as $100 billion to fund his economic transformation plans focused on diversifying his nation’s currently oil-dependent economy.
The crown prince also said that Riyadh has undertaken a number of key procedures in preparation for the IPO, including issuing a law for a hydrocarbons tax, appointing a new board for Aramco and allowing an independent audit of the Kingdom’s oil reserves.
Saudi Arabia released the results of the audit this January, confirming that the kingdom controls more than 260 billion barrels in oil reserves. This evaluation makes the metrics behind the world’s largest energy company a bit more transparent to potential investors in Aramco.
“This certification underscores why every barrel we produce is the most profitable in the world, and why we believe Saudi Aramco is the world’s most valuable company and indeed the world’s most important,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement about the audit.
(Writing by Seban Scaria, editing by Daniel Luiz)
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