Saudi Arabia reveals rise in oil reserves and commits to Aramco listing

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Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the Aramco IPO would take place in 2021. (Reuters)
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Saudi Arabia's oil reserves as of Dec. 31 2017 were 264 billion barrels. (Reuters file photo)
Updated 09 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia reveals rise in oil reserves and commits to Aramco listing

  • Saudi’s proven oil reserves at 268.5bn barrels at end 2017
  • Minister pledges to cut oil shipments next month
LONDON: Saudi Arabia has revealed a rise in crude oil reserves following an independent audit, lifting the lid on deposits that have been the subject of intense speculation since the Kingdom revealed plans to sell shares in its national oil company.

The Kingdom’s proven oil and gas reserves stood at around 268.5 billion barrels of oil and 325.1 trillion standard cubic feet of gas as of the end of 2017, the Saudi Energy Ministry said in a statement carried by the SPA state news agency.

It answers a key question for potential investors in the planned share sale of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned company that manages the Kingdom’s vast oil wealth.

“The results point out that the Kingdom’s reserves of oil and gas are bigger than what we have been announcing,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told reporters in Riyadh.

Dallas-based consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton carried out the audit of the Kingdom’s oil reserves.

The minister also pledged to go ahead with the delayed IPO of Aramco despite speculation that it had been shelved.

He said that Aramco would also issue bonds in the second-quarter of the year and that company financial details would be published as part of that process.

The IPO would follow in 2021, he revealed.

The minister  said that Saudi Arabia would cut oil exports next month as it seeks to prevent a glut that could depress prices further.

“We are serious about restoring balance to the market,” he told a press conference in Riyadh “We are concerned about volatility in the oil market. We have seen peaks and drops in prices (that are) completely unjustified by the fundamentals.”

The Kingdom plans to ship about 7.1 million barrels per day (bpd) in February, down from 7.2 million bpd in January.

Turning to Saudi Arabia’s plans to develop nuclear energy, Al-Falih said that the US was a key provider of nuclear technology and that he wanted the US to be “part and parcel” of its nuclear power program.


Oil rises on US-Iran tensions, but trade war concerns weigh

Updated 12 min 48 sec ago
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Oil rises on US-Iran tensions, but trade war concerns weigh

  • There are expectations producer club OPEC will continue to withhold supply this year
  • President Donald Trump on Monday threatened Iran with ‘great force’ if it attacked US interests in the Middle East

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on Tuesday on escalating US-Iran tensions and amid expectations that producer club OPEC will continue to withhold supply this year.
But gains were checked by concerns that a prolonged trade war between Washington and Beijing could lead to a global economic slowdown.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $72.24 per barrel at 0534 GMT, up 27 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $63.36 per barrel.
“Escalating tensions between the US and Iran, in addition to signs that OPEC will continue its production cut, drove oil higher,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at futures brokerage London Capital Group.
US President Donald Trump on Monday threatened Iran with “great force” if it attacked US interests in the Middle East. This came after a rocket attack in Iraq’s capital Baghdad, which Washington suspects to have been organized by militia with ties to Iran.
Iran said on Tuesday that it would resist US pressure, declining further talks under current circumstances.
The tension comes amid an already tight market as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers have been withholding supply since the start of the year to prop up prices.
A meeting has been scheduled for June 25-26 to discuss the policy, but the group is now considering moving the event to July 3-4, according to OPEC sources on Monday, with its de-facto leader Saudi Arabia signaling a willingness to continue withholding output.
Price gains were constrained by pressure on financial markets, which have this week been weighed down by worries that the United States and China are digging in for a long, costly trade war that could result in a broad global slowdown.
Singapore, seen as a bellwether for the health of the global economy, on Tuesday posted its lowest quarterly growth in nearly a decade of 1.2 percent year-on-year. Growth in Thailand, a key Asian emerging market, also slowed to a multi-year low.