Oil Updates – crude nudges higher, buoyed by rate cut expectations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is planning to sell an additional stake in Saudi Aramco in February, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday citing sources.

Reports about the new sale come four years after the Kingdom raised about $30 billion in Aramco’s initial public offering, which was described as the world’s largest-ever stock sale.

Bloomberg reported that Saudi Arabia is working with a group of advisers and “is seeking to potentially raise at least SR40 billion ($10 billion) from the share sale on the Saudi stock exchange.”

The deal is expected to bolster the Kingdom’s efforts to diversify its economy away from oil and promote non-oil sectors as part of its Vision 2030 plans.

According to Bloomberg, “there’s no final decision on the timing of the share sale, and the deal could still be delayed. The Saudi government referred requests for comment to Aramco, which declined to comment.”

The Saudi government holds a 90.19 percent stake in Aramco, while the sovereign Public Investment Fund and the fund’s subsidiary Sanabil hold 4 percent each.

Aramco is the world’s biggest oil exporter, with a market value of just over $2 trillion. The latest report comes on the heels of a Saudi government decision to maintain the oil giant’s maximum sustainable capacity at 12 million barrels per day instead of 13 million bpd. The company also plans to update its capital spending guidance when revealing its full-year 2023 results in March.

The Kingdom is currently pumping around 9 million bpd, well below capacity after it cut production as part of an agreement with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, last year.

Since late 2022, OPEC+ has cut 5.86 million bpd of oil output, equal to roughly 5.7 percent of daily world demand, according to Reuters calculations.

In its latest monthly report, OPEC forecast that demand for its crude would grow about 1.3 million bpd by the end of 2025, meaning it would only be able to unwind a third of its cuts of close to 4 million bpd.

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