Saudi energy minister says Aramco IPO could still happen in 2018

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih. (Reuters)
Updated 04 April 2018
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Saudi energy minister says Aramco IPO could still happen in 2018

WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia may still move forward with an initial public offering (IPO) for state oil company Saudi Aramco on an international exchange such as London or New York in the second half of 2018, despite previously raising doubts it could be delayed to next year, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Thursday.
Falih told Reuters in an interview in Washington the oil giant could be floated either domestically or internationally late this year. New York is still in the running for the IPO but Saudi officials still need to weigh the risk of potential “frivolous lawsuits” in its final decision.
“We have prepared all documentation to be ready to do both domestic and international listings,” Falih said. “We have not closed the door on 2018.” Saudi Arabia is planning to list up to 5 percent of Saudi Aramco in an initial public offering that could value it at up to $2 trillion and make it the world’s biggest oil company by market capitalization.
Falih said officials have prepared documentation to be ready to do both a domestic and an international listing.
Despite comments he made earlier this month that Aramco was too important to risk listing in the United States because of litigation concerns, such as existing lawsuits against rival oil companies for their role in climate change, he said New York is still in the running for the IPO.
“We have concerns obviously Aramco is too big and too valuable and too important and we could be potentially at risk from some frivolous lawsuits and litigation that we have to consider in our final decision,” he said.
Legal challenges could arise from a US law that would allow US victims of militant attacks to sue foreign governments for compensation.


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.