OPEC, partners face stiff test to agree oil cut deal

OPEC President and Energy Minister of the United Arab Emirates Suhail al-Mazrouei (4th R) opens the 175th OPEC Conference of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria on December 6, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 07 December 2018

OPEC, partners face stiff test to agree oil cut deal

  • Amid sharp differences over which way to go, the oil market continued under pressure
  • A glut on the market has led to oil prices falling by more than 30 percent

VIENNA: OPEC ministers resumed talks on Friday before further discussions with 10 key partner countries, including Russia, later in the day to thrash out an agreement on production cuts.
Amid sharp differences over which way to go, the oil market continued under pressure.
In early trade Friday, the price of Brent, the European benchmark, was again under the symbolic $60 mark after a slump Thursday when the cartel failed to reach an expected accord on cuts to stem price falls.
“No, I am not confident” about the chances of a deal, Saudi oil minister Khalid Al-Falih told reporters after a long day of negotiations at OPEC headquarters in Vienna.
However, OPEC and non-OPEC members — who combined account for around half of global output — agree on one thing: a glut on the market has led to oil prices falling by more than 30 percent in the space of two months.


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: