Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser told CNBC last week that the company is ready to list in 2018, but it is waiting for its sole shareholder — the Saudi government — to make a decision about the listing venue.
"It's about evaluating all the information that is being passed to the government in terms of different markets that we have in terms of listed venues, whether it is in the U.K., or New York or Hong Kong or other markets," Nasser said.
The chances that Aramco will list this year are growing more remote, some of the Journal's sources say, though some told the paper a 2018 IPO is still possible if Salman makes up his mind soon.
The NYSE is at the top of Salman's list because it comes with access to a huge pool of investors, carries international prestige and could bolster relations with the Trump administration, according to the Journal.
President Donald Trump told the Saudis he would appreciate them choosing the NYSE in a November tweet.
Other options include listing Aramco solely on Saudi Arabia's Tadawul stock exchange, along with an investment from one of several countries' sovereign wealth funds. However, the Journal notes that this would be difficult given the Tadawul's total market capitalization is just $451 billion, as little as one-half to one-quarter the size of Aramco's estimated valuation.
In a November interview with CNBC, Nasser batted down rumors that Aramco is seeking an investment from China or another nation in lieu of listing on a foreign exchange.