Eni rig sails for Morocco after Turkey blocks Cyprus search

An employee walks by banners with name and sign of energy firm Eni at Strovolos area in capital Nicosia, Cyprus. (AP)
Updated 27 February 2018

Eni rig sails for Morocco after Turkey blocks Cyprus search

NICOSIA: An Italian drillship blocked by the Turkish navy from exploring for gas off Cyprus was on Tuesday headed for Morocco, a website monitoring sea traffic showed.
The Saipem 12000 vessel, chartered by Italian giant Eni, anchored off the Cypriot port of Limassol after it was forced on Friday to abandon its mission following a two-week standoff with Turkish warships.
Ankara bitterly opposes attempts by the Greek-majority Republic of Cyprus to exploit resources in the waters off the divided island, insisting it is protecting the rights of the Turkish-Cypriot community.
The Marine Traffic website that measures ship movements around the globe estimated that the vessel should arrive off the coast of Morocco by March 9.
An Eni spokesman reiterated a statement by the firm’s boss that the drillship “would head to Morocco and return to Cyprus when conditions allow.”
Cypriot Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis on Monday said the postponement of the test drilling was a “setback” but the government would continue with its energy search as planned.
The latest spike in tensions over energy resources has complicated efforts to restart talks aimed at reunifying Cyprus after they collapsed last year.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the northern third of the island in response to a Greek military junta-sponsored coup.
EU member Cyprus argues that the island’s untapped energy riches belong to the state and the wealth would be shared with the Turkish-Cypriot community once the island was reunified.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned foreign energy companies not to “overstep the mark” in the Mediterranean after Turkey’s navy blocked the Italian vessel on February 9, claiming they were carrying out maneuvers.
Cyprus expects more exploratory drills in the second half of 2018 by US giant ExxonMobil and its partner Qatar Petroleum.


Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

Updated 11 December 2019

Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

  • Company is now world’s largest publicly traded company, bigger than Apple

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco shares opened at 35.2 riyals ($9.39) on Wednesday at the Kingdom’s stock exchange, 10 percent above their IPO price of 32 riyals, in their first day of trading following a record $26.5 billion initial public offering.
Aramco has earlier priced its IPO at 32 riyals ($8.53) per share, the high end of the target range, surpassing the $25 billion raised by Chinese retail giant Alibaba in its 2014 Wall Street debut.
Aramco’s earlier indicative debut price was seen at 35.2 riyals, 10 per cent above IPO price, raising the company’s valuation to $1.88 trillion, Refintiv data showed.
At that price, Aramco is world’s most valuable listed company. That’s more than the top five oil companies – Exxon Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP – combined.
“Today Aramco will become the largest listed company in the world and (Tadawul) among the top ten global financial markets,” Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairwoman of the Saudi Arabian stock exchange, said during a ceremony marking the oil giant’s first day of trading.
“Aramco today is the largest integrated oil and gas company in the world. Before Saudi Arabia was the only shareholder of the company, now there are 5 million shareholders including citizens, residents and investors,” said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the managing director and chief executive of the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
“Aramco’s IPO will enhance the company’s governance and strengthen its standards.”
Amin Nasser, the president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, meanwhile thanked the new shareholders for their confidence and trust of the oil company.
The sale of 1.5 percent of the firm, or three billion shares, is the bedrock of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious strategy to overhaul the oil-reliant economy.
Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange earlier said it will hold an opening auction for Aramco shares for an hour from 9:30 a.m. followed by continuous trading, with price changes limited to plus or minus 10 percent.

The company said Friday it could exercise a “greenshoe” option, selling additional shares to bring the total raised up to $29.4 billion.
The market launch puts the oil behemoth’s value at $1.7 trillion, far ahead of other firms in the trillion-dollar club, including Apple and Microsoft.
Two-thirds of the shares were offered to institutional investors. Saudi government bodies accounted for 13.2 percent of the institutional tranche, investing around $2.3 billion, according to lead IPO manager Samba Capital.
The IPO is a crucial part of Prince Mohammed’s plan to wean the economy away from oil by pumping funds into megaprojects and non-energy industries such as tourism and entertainment.
Watch the video marking Aramco’s opening trading: