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Aramco Says Reports It is Considering Bid for Australian Santos are Inaccurate

  • Aramco: reports about bid for Santos are inaccurate.
  • Earlier today, Bloomberg reported that both Aramco and the UAE’s Adnoc were considering bids for the Australian company. 
  • Santos has a market cap of around $16.72 billion, and potential buyers eye its vast LNG business.
Aramco

Saudi Arabia’s oil giant, Aramco, told Reuters on Thursday that reports it was considering a bid for Australia’s Santos gas producer were inaccurate following widespread publication of a Bloomberg news report that both Aramco and the UAE’s Adnoc were considering bids for the Australian company. 

Earlier on Wednesday, Bloomberg cited unnamed sources as saying that both Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) were mulling a move on Santos, led by Saudi and Emirate interests in expanding their natural gas businesses internationally. 

Talks with Woodside had a breakthrough in February; however, shareholder concern that they would get stuck paying a significant premium on Santos’ shares eventually scuppered any deal, with Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill saying at the time that the company would “continue to be disciplined” in its approach to mergers and acquisitions. 

Santos has a market cap of around $16.72 billion, and potential buyers eye its vast LNG business, which includes the Darwin and Gladstone LNG projects in Australia, as well as the PNG LNG project in Papua New Guinea. 

"I think Santos is an attractively priced company with a handful of great assets, but despite this, I find it hard to imagine a would-be buyer flagging its interest prior to making an offer," Simon Mawhinney, managing director of Allan Gray, told Reuters in reference to the Bloomberg report alleging interest by Aramco and Adnoc. 

On June 26, Saudi Aramco made its debut move on the LNG scene, inking a non-binding agreement to buy a 25% stake in Sempra Energy’s Port Arthur LNG project. Aramco has also signed a deal to buy LNG from NextDEcade’s Rio Grande LNG facility on a long-term basis.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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