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.


US in criminal probe of China's Huawei

Updated 17 January 2019
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US in criminal probe of China's Huawei

  • The Wall Street Journal said the US justice department is looking into allegations of theft of trade secrets from Huawei's US business partners
  • Huawei forcefully denied accusations that his firm engaged in espionage on behalf of the Chinese government

WASHINGTON: US authorities are in the "advanced" stages of a criminal probe that could result in an indictment of Chinese technology giant Huawei, a report said Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, said the Department of Justice is looking into allegations of theft of trade secrets from Huawei's US business partners, including a T-Mobile robotic device used to test smartphones.
Huawei and the Department of Justice declined to comment on the media report.
However, Huawei noted that "Huawei and T-Mobile settled their disputes in 2017 following a US jury verdict finding neither damage, unjust enrichment nor willful and malicious conduct by Huawei in T-Mobile's trade secret claim."
The move would further escalate tensions between the US and China after the arrest last year in Canada of Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of the company founder.
The case of Meng, under house arrest awaiting proceedings, has inflamed US-China and Canada-China relations.
Two Canadians have been detained in China since Meng's arrest and a third has been sentenced to death on drug trafficking charges -- moves observers see as attempts by Beijing to pressure Ottawa over her case.
Huawei, the second-largest global smartphone maker and biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, has for years been under scrutiny in the US over purported links to the Chinese government.
Huawei's reclusive founder Ren Zhengfei, in a rare media interview Tuesday, forcefully denied accusations that his firm engaged in espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.
The tensions come amid a backdrop of President Donald Trump's efforts to get more manufacturing on US soil and slap hefty tariffs on Chinese goods for what he claims are unfair trade practices by Beijing.
In a related move, lawmakers introduced a bill to ban the export of American parts and components to Chinese telecom companies that are in violation of US export control or sanctions laws -- with Huawei and fellow Chinese firm ZTE the likely targets.
"Huawei is effectively an intelligence-gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party whose founder and CEO was an engineer for the People's Liberation Army," said Republican Senator Tom Cotton, one of the bill's sponsors.
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said in the same statement: "Huawei and ZTE are two sides of the same coin. Both companies have repeatedly violated US laws, represent a significant risk to American national security interests and need to be held accountable."
Last year, Trump reached a deal with ZTE that eases tough financial penalties on the firm for helping Iran and North Korea evade American sanctions.
Trump said his decision in May to spare ZTE came following an appeal by Chinese President Xi Jinping to help save Chinese jobs.