Saudi oil giant Aramco is undertaking a series of moves that may pave the way for a long-delayed stock market debut.
The kingdom plans an initial public offering for Aramco in 2021, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said during a news conference Wednesday. Falih backed the latest target for the IPO with several announcements that would essentially prep the market for the debut, which is expected to be the largest ever.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday released the results of an independent audit that confirms the kingdom controls more than 260 billion barrels in oil reserves. The assessment makes the metrics behind the world's largest energy company — long the subject of skepticism — a bit less opaque to potential investors in Aramco.
"This certification underscores why every barrel we produce is the most profitable in the world, and why we believe Saudi Aramco is the world's most valuable company and indeed the world's most important," Falih said in a statement.
Falih later announced Aramco will issue bonds in the second quarter of this year. In order to tap the debt market, Aramco will release additional financial information, offering a wider glimpse into a private company whose inner workings are a closely held secret.