Saudis scramble to raise cash for Saudi Aramco share sale

Aramco said it plans to sell an unspecified number of shares on the Saudi stock exchange Tadawul. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2019

Saudis scramble to raise cash for Saudi Aramco share sale

RIYADH: From tapping lenders to selling personal assets, Saudis are scrambling to raise cash to invest in Saudi Aramco stocks after the oil giant announced its blockbuster market debut.

The company said it plans to sell an unspecified number of shares on the Saudi stock exchange Tadawul. Retail investors in Saudi Arabia still appear to be salivating at the prospect of owning a piece of the world’s most profitable company.

“Some (Saudis) have started to sell other stocks in preparation to buy Aramco (shares),” said Ibrahim Ahmed, a Saudi energy industry analyst who is also considering investing his savings.

“People look at it as a sound investment. (But) I’m aware that it is a long-term investment that is good to have in a portfolio and not some kind of lottery ticket.”

Fahad Hashemi, portfolio manager at the Riyadh-based Middle East Financial Investment Co, said his firm had a “strong intention” to participate.

Eid Al-Shamri, chief executive of investment bank Ithraa Capital, said some Saudis were considering selling their homes or borrowing money to purchase shares.

“This is definitely a serious event that will be recorded in the history of Saudi Arabia,” Shamri told Bloomberg News. “A lot of people are talking about it. But what is the extent of the people’s participation? We are tightening our belts.”

In a 21-page document released by the company, the company called the IPO a “unique investment proposition.”

Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser said the company was committed to offer shareholders “long-term value creation.”

To promote participation by all sections of Saudi society, divorced women or widows with minors will be eligible to receive bonus shares, local media reported.

Russia vows cooperation with OPEC to keep oil market balanced

Updated 21 November 2019

Russia vows cooperation with OPEC to keep oil market balanced

  • Moscow not aiming to be world’s No.1 crude producer, Putin tells annual investment forum

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have “a common goal” of keeping the oil market balanced and predictable, and Moscow will continue cooperation under the global supply curbs deal.

OPEC meets on Dec. 5 in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other exporters, including Russia, known as OPEC+.

“Our (common with OPEC) goal is for the market to be balanced, acceptable for producers and consumers and the most important — and I want to underline this — predictable,” Putin told a forum on Wednesday.

In October, Russia cut its oil output to 11.23 million barrels per day (bpd) from 11.25 million bpd in September but it was still higher than a 11.17-11.18 million bpd cap set for Moscow under the existing global deal. Putin told the forum that Russia’s oil production was growing slightly despite the supply curbs deal but Moscow was not aiming to be the world’s No. 1 crude producer. Currently, the US is the world’s top oil producer.

“Russia has a serious impact on the global energy market but the most impact we achieve (is) when working along with other key producers,” he said. “There was a moment not that long ago when Russia was the world’s top oil producer — this is not our goal.”

Russia plans to produce between 556 million and 560 million tons of oil this year (11.17-11.25 million bpd), Energy Minister Alexander Novak said separately on Wednesday, depending on the volume of gas condensate produced during cold months.

Russia will aim to stick to its commitments under the deal in November, Novak told reporters.

Russia includes gas condensate — a side product also known as a “light oil” produced when companies extract natural gas — into its overall oil production statistics, which some other oil producing countries do not do.

As Russia is gradually increasing liquefied natural gas production (LNG), the share of gas condensate it is producing is also growing. Gas condensate now accounts for around 6 percent of Russian oil production.

Novak told reporters that in winter, Russia traditionally produces more gas condensate as it is launching new gas fields in the freezing temperatures.

“We believe that gas condensate should not be taken into account (of overall oil production statistics), as this is an absolutely different area related to gas production and gas supplies,” he said.

Three sources told Reuters on Tuesday that Russia is unlikely to agree to deepen cuts in oil output at a meeting with fellow exporters next month, but could commit to extend existing curbs to support Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Novak declined to say that Russia’s position would be at upcoming OPEC+ meeting. Reuters uses a conversion rate of 7.33 barrels per ton of oil.