BEIJING (Bloomberg) -- China’s in talks with Saudi Arabia for its sovereign wealth fund and largest energy company to invest in the initial public offering of the Middle East nation’s state oil producer, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The nation’s $814 billion China Investment Corp. (CIC) would be the principle investor in the planned flotation by Saudi Arabian Oil Co., according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) may also invest in the IPO, they said. No formal agreement has been reached, according to the people.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz is visiting Beijing this week as the world’s biggest oil exporter gears up for what may be the largest-ever initial public offering. Hong Kong is among markets including London, New York, Singapore and Tokyo that have been identified as possible venues for the sale of 5% of the company, which is valued between $400 billion and $2 trillion.
China, the world’s biggest energy user, is growing more reliant on overseas crude as its domestic reserves dwindle and economic growth spurs higher demand. President Xi Jinping said in a meeting with King Salman that the nations should step up energy cooperation, Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday, adding that the countries signed $65 billion worth of memorandums of understanding during the visit.
“It is a win-win if China can take a sizable stake in the Aramco IPO,” said Gordon Kwan, head of Asia-Pacific oil and gas research at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong. “China needs to ensure oil supplies from Saudi Arabia, given the structural decline of the country’s aging mature fields. Saudi Arabia can ensure market share in China, which might want to insist Aramco be listed in Hong Kong instead of London or the U.S.”
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Headline crude prices for the week beginning 16 September 2019 – Brent: US$69/b; WTI: US$63/b
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