Saudi Arabia mulls Aramco IPO amid oil slide: The Economist

A gas flame is seen in the desert near the Khurais oilfield operated state oil giant Saudi Aramco, about 160 km (99 miles) from Riyadh.
Ali Jarekji | Reuters
A gas flame is seen in the desert near the Khurais oilfield operated state oil giant Saudi Aramco, about 160 km (99 miles) from Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is considering listing its state-owned oil producer, Saudi Aramco, The Economist reported, citing the kingdom's deputy crown prince Muhammad bin Salman.

Aramco is the world's largest crude oil producer and if the initial public offer goes through, Saudi Aramco would rank as one of the most highly valued listed companies globally.

A possible listing of the oil giant will help bolster Saudi government finances after the current rout in oil price contributed to a record 367 billion Saudi riyals ($97.9 billion) budget deficit in 2015.

"I believe it is in the interest of the Saudi market, and it is in the interest of Aramco, and it is for the interest of more transparency, and to counter corruption, if any, that may be circling around Aramco," Prince Muhammad told the newspaper in an interview conducted on January 4.

A decision on whether to float Aramco is likely to be made in the next few months, he added.

Oil prices halved in the last year and hit 12-year lows this week amid market turmoil in the Chinese markets.

To read the full Economist story, click here.

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