Sun, Apr 16, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Oil market to balance: CEO


The global oil market is moving closer to balance even as increases in US oil production push prices down in the short-term, Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Saudi Aramco) chief executive officer Amin Nasser said.

“This is not a good indication of where the market is likely to be headed going forward, as the large new production capacity and investment we will need in the future are lagging,” Nasser said during an event at Columbia University in New York on Friday. “While the short-term market is pointing to a surplus of oil, the supply required in the coming years is falling behind.”

Many indicators are pointing to a more balanced market, Nasser said, adding that the combined inventories of nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are flattening and poised to drop, among other signs that the market is tightening.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, is cutting output as it leads efforts to eliminate a global crude glut and bolster prices.

The nation produced almost 10 million barrels a day last month, it reported to OPEC, all of which was pumped by Aramco.

Aramco, which has agreed to pay Royal Dutch Shell PLC US$2.2 billion to break up a 19-year refining partnership known as Motiva Enterprises LLC, is discussing several refining and marketing joint ventures in Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, Nasser said.

With 60 percent to 70 percent of its exports going to Asia, it is very much focused on growth in this area, which includes looking for investments within China’s downstream sector.

It is also evaluating opportunities in the US as part of its plan to increase its global refining and marketing capacity to between 8 million and 10 million barrels a day.

“As part of this effort, we will build on our Motiva business in the US once the transaction is completed between Shell and Aramco,” he said.

With the payment to Shell, which includes debt, Aramco’s Saudi refining unit is to take full ownership of the Motiva Enterprises name and legal entity, including the largest refinery in the US at Port Arthur in Texas.

Aramco is planning what might be the world’s largest stock sale.

The kingdom is courting foreign investors as it seeks to diversify its economy and gears up for the planned sale of a 5 percent stake in the company.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the king’s influential son, has said the company could be worth more than US$2 trillion.

The initial public offering would probably take place in the second half of next year, Nasser previously said.

“[The IPO is] on track. Everything is going very well,” Nasser said on Friday.

Last month, the Saudi government slashed the level of taxation imposed on the company, lowering the rate to 50 percent from 85 percent in a bid to boost the valuation.

Helped by the lower levy, the company’s oil and natural gas reserves equivalent to 310 billion barrels could make it worth between US$1 trillion and US$1.5 trillion, based on valuations for other producers, Sanford C Bernstein & Co said last month.

A 5 percent sale of a US$2 trillion company would bring in about US$100 billion.

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