One indication of the changing fortunes in the oil world is the pending arrival of Saudi Aramco on the IPO market. While the Saudis only plan to offer five percent of the company to outside investors, that still offers the Kingdom the opportunity to bring in $100 billion, based on its estimated $2 trillion in value.
The company has been a closely held component of the Saudi Arabian government since it acquired total control in 1980. In the first 40 years of the company, it was largely held by international oil firms, but the dramatic shift in using the commodity as an economic weapon allowed the Kingdom to slowly gain control.
In 2016, however, the continual decline of revenue has created substantial financial issues for the Saudis. The infusion of the money from this IPO will apply a financial tourniquet to this problem, at least on a temporary basis.
Part of the allure is that the available supply of oil for Saudi Aramco isn’t remotely close to running out. The company has available reserves that amount to 310 billion barrels, or roughly one-sixth of the market for the entire planet.
The cost of producing that oil has historically been inexpensive for the Saudis, who pump out an average of 10 million barrels per day. That cost is under $10, so even though prices have stayed in the range of the mid-$40’s, there’s still profit coming-though at a much reduced rate.
Different financial markets are seeking to obtain the listing, with those in Asia pointing out that two out of every three barrels the company exports heads to that region of the world.
The Saudis were hoping that the IPO will be ready to go by next year but the more likely time frame is in 2018.