Saudi Aramco confirms plans for IPO in second half of the year

Oil major signs agreement with Chevron, CB&I to boost petrochemicals technology

Amin Nasser, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aramco arrives to the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
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Saudi Aramco's chief executive Amin Nasser said the state-owned oil firm's initial public offering is on track for the second half of this year, but that no decision has been made regarding listing venues.

"The company is ready for listing in 2018 when the decision is taken on the listing venue," Nasser told Reuters at the company's headquarters.

"We want to see if there is going to be a listing in another market (in addition to the Saudi Stock Exchange or Tadawul). There is a committee that is formed that looks into it and whenever the decision is taken the company is ready to implement."

Tadawul chief executive Khalid Al Hussan told The National in October he hoped the Saudi bourse would be the exclusive venue for Aramco's IPO, but that such a proposition could not be taken for granted.

The listing of up to 5 per cent of the oil company's shares, the centrepiece of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 economic reform plan, could generate up to US$100 billion for the kingdom's government.


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Separately, Aramco on Thursday signed a three-way agreement that includes a unit of US energy firm Chevron to help market and scale up Aramco's Thermal Crude to Chemicals technology, which helps derive higher chemical yields from crude.

The technology complements Saudi Aramco's crude-to-chemicals projects and will help grow the company's chemicals business, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Aramco signed the joint development agreement with CB&I, a US-based provider of technology and infrastructure for the energy industry, and Chevron Lummus Global, a joint venture between CB&I and Chevron.

“Today’s joint development agreement with CB&I and CLG is a technological first which will position Saudi Aramco to maximise the value of each barrel of crude oil it produces in the near future,” said Amin Nasser, Saudi Aramco’s chief executive. “This is a further opportunity for Saudi Aramco to contribute to the development of a stronger, more diversified Saudi economy, one that creates high value employment opportunities for young Saudis in a further realisation of Vision 2030 objectives.”

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is beefing up its petrochemicals business to create a supplementary source of income to oil, create jobs and help develop downstream industries.

Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corp, Mena's biggest petrochemical producer, signed an agreement in November to build one of the world's largest oil-to-chemicals facilities, valued at $20 billion, as Riyadh continues to diversify its economy away from reliance on crude revenues.

The integrated complex, to be located on the country's western coast, will process around 400,000 barrels per day of oil that would be turned into around 9 million tonnes of chemicals and base oils annually. The facility is set to begin operations in 2025.