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Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said Aramco will publish annual financial figures before its listing next year. The statement is the latest in a string of news regarding the world’s biggest oil company’s preparations for what is believed by many to be the equally biggest IPO in the industry in recent history
Al-Falih went on to add that due to Aramco’s size, the shares of the company – less than 5 percent to be floated – will be listed on two or three exchanges. The minister then said that the information to be released ahead of the listing will “amaze” the world.
Aramco’s IPO is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to combat the effects of the 2014 oil price slump, but the market has been wary because as a state-owned business, the company does not disclose financial information and is widely considered one of the most opaque state businesses in the global energy industry.
This is set to change, apparently, to improve the chances of the listing being successful. Earlier this month, sources close to the company said that Aramco had sent requests for proposals to several investment banks, inviting them to take part in the listing as advisers. The list of potential candidates includes both big international joints and small banks.
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Last week, other sources said that an independent audit, conducted by two U.S. companies, had confirmed Aramco’s vast crude oil resources, in line with official government information. The audit found Aramco’s reserves at over 261 billion barrels, almost identical to the company’s own estimates of 261.1 billion barrels. To compare, BP’s estimate of the company’s reserves came in at 266.6 billion barrels.
In view of next year’s share listing, Saudi Aramco is required to provide independent audit of its reserves. Significantly higher or lower reserves would greatly change the valuation of the company, which Saudi officials say is worth around US$2 trillion.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.