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Oil Investments Are Drying Up As Crude Demand Falters

Oil Investments Are Drying Up As Crude Demand Falters

The COVID-19-induced shortage in key…

Aramco Completes $69 Billion Sabic Takeover

Saudi state oil giant Aramco has finalized the purchase of a majority stake in petrochemicals major Sabic on the Saudi stock market, Reuters reported, buying over 2 billion shares in the company for a total of $69.1 billion.

Aramco signed the deal to buy 70 percent in Sabic from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia in March 2019, for the equivalent of US$69.1 billion in Saudi riyals at the time. The acquisition was part of Aramco’s preparation for going public, which happened, after much anticipation, at the end of last year.

Earlier this year, there were media reports that the oil giant may delay the purchase because of the coronavirus pandemic and the oil price collapse and there were even reports Aramco was potentially seeking to renegotiate the price of the deal as Sabic’s market cap plummeted by 40 percent. However, the price paid for the shares, which were bought this Sunday, is the same as the originally agreed one.

This may put an additional financial burden on Aramco, which has not been spared the fallout of the oil price crisis. As Reuters reported in May, the oil giant, which went public last December, is due to pay a dividend of some $75 billion to its majority shareholder, the Saudi government, but it does not have enough cash to cover the payment.

According to officials, however, things are looking up on the oil demand front. Earlier this month, oil minister Abdulaziz bin Salman said, as quoted by the Financial Times, that there were signs of “thriving” oil demand and as a result the company would raise its official selling prices for crude for July. The price increase was the sharpest in two decades but they were made from the deepest discounts in more than 30 years, almost erasing them.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on June 15 2020 said:
    While purchasing a majority stake in petrochemical major Sabic makes Saudi Aramco a fully integrated company like other oil supermajors, this is one costly investment Aramco would have preferred not to make at all or at least at a much later date when oil prices have risen much higher than today's level.

    The reason is that this investment is no more than a brilliant financial manoeuvre by the Saudi government to balance its books without having to borrow itself.

    The Saudi government owns both Saudi Aramco and Sabic. By ordering Aramco to borrow money in foreign markets in order to acquire a majority share in Sabic, the money Sabic receives from Aramco ends up in the government’s coffers.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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