Saudi Arabia just made a big announcement that has caught the world oil market by surprise. First here is the press release; Scroll down for what it means;
Saudi Aramco confirms that it has been studying various options to allow broad public participation in its equity through the listing in the capital markets of an appropriate percentage of the Company’s shares and/or the listing of a bundle its downstream subsidiaries.
Once the study of these various options is complete, the findings will be presented to the Company’s Board of Directors which will make its recommendations to the Saudi Aramco Supreme Council.
This proposal is consistent with the broad and progressive direction pursued by the Kingdom for reforms, including privatization in various sectors of the Saudi economy and deregulation of markets, which the Company strongly supports.
Saudi Aramco would like to emphasize that this process will strengthen the Company’s focus on its long term vision of becoming the world’s leading energy and chemical enterprise. This includes prudently managing the Kingdom’s hydrocarbon resources, adding value across the value chain, reliably meeting its customers’ demand, and meeting its stakeholder and environmental commitments.
Saudi’s Aramco as a company is perhaps the world’s largest producer of crude oil and is their equivalent of the NNPC. This proposal is basically exploring the possibility of privatizing the company which may likely be via an initial public offering and spinning off its downstream assets. If this occurs, then we may just be seeing one of the largest IPO’s of all time. If this listing goes through then it will be the first gulf state to go public setting a precedence that may be followed by other gulf nations.
The Buhari led government has also revealed that plans are underway for the NNPC to be listed as well. The government had said it was planning to split NNPC into two paving the way for an eventual privatization of the company.
Aramco’s revenue is about $378 billion as at 2014 and employs about 60,000 people.