Aramco, the world’s largest oil-exporting company, holds a concession to pump the kingdom’s oil and gas, and a stake in that venture is what will be sold in the offering of “not far from 5 percent” of its shares in 2018, the prince said. Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. and Rystad Energy AS in March said the offering had a potential market value above $1 trillion.
“The wells will still be owned by the government,” said the deputy crown prince, the son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz. “The company only has the right to benefit from the wells. This is the same as before and there are no changes to that.”
Production decisions will remain subject to OPEC policies and the global supply and demand balance, the prince said.
Saudis to Invest at Least Half of Aramco IPO Proceeds at Home
Proceeds from the offering will enlarge the kingdom’s sovereign-wealth fund, and at least half have been earmarked to develop local industries such as mining, he said. The prince said last year that he expects the company to have a value of at least $2 trillion, but Sanford Bernstein put it at $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion in March, and Rystad estimated it at $1.4 trillion, assuming a long-term oil price of $75 a barrel.
Saudi Aramco Valuation Seen Topping $1 Trillion After Tax Cut
The prince said plans to sell shares in state-owned Aramco date back to the time of his grandfather, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia.