Saudi Aramco will be looking to list a part of the state-owned company in 2018 on overseas exchanges, with the London Stock Exchange among the front runners, according to chief executive officer Amin Nasser.
Speaking at a conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Monday (26 September), Nasser said the move "would happen in 2018" with London, New York and Hong Kong among the exchanges the company was considering. Aramco, estimated to be worth about $2.5trn (£1.94trn, €2.9bn), is expected to list around 5% of its equity.
Nasser also said he fully expects the oil market to remain volatile in the "near future", adding that he felt companies with a stronger downstream (refining) portfolio remain in a better position relative to their peers.
The Aramco boss said he would be looking at fresh locations for oil storage, with assistance of "Chinese partners" but did not divulge much else.
Recently, the UAE's port of Fujairah – currently the Middle East's largest commercial storage hub for refined oil products – said it would publish weekly inventory data to improve transparency and boost the credentials of the Emirates' only Indian Ocean port that has oil export facilities.
With crude oil prices still low, the move is in line with the UAE government's 2021 Vision to open up its data. The country's energy minister, Suhail Al Mazroui, said it will bolster Fujairah's drive to replicating the practices of leading global energy trading ports such as Singapore and Rotterdam.
On Wednesday (21 September), Fujairah opened the UAE's first Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) jetty capable of handling the loading/unloading of up to two million barrels per vessel. It cost AED 650m (£137m, $177m, €158bn), with the construction of a second jetty already underway.
Elsewhere, in the region, global energy data provider Platts announced it would publish independent, outright price assessments for a range of oil products for the Middle East market on a FOB [Free-On-Board] Fujairah basis starting on 3 October, 2016.
The world's biggest oil exporting nations are to hold talks over freezing production at an informal meeting in Algeria this week on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum from 26 to 28 September.
Ahead of the meeting, Algerian energy minister Noureddine Boutarfa said a freeze or cut to oil production to boost weak prices would be on the agenda and that he hoped to achieve "the elements of an agreement".