Saudi Aramco is set to launch a domestic fuel retail subsidiary in an attempt to expand beyond the production of crude oil, into downstream business.
on Wednesday, Aramco announced that the firm will establish a network of filling stations that will be located in Saudi Arabia to sell fuel. However, it did not give details regarding the cost, time-frame, or size for the said network.
Last April, the national oil firm of the Kingdom Saudi Arabia said that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Total, a French company, to weigh up the option of acquiring a retail service station network in the kingdom.
However, the statement that was released on Wednesday made no mention of such a venture with Total, or the potential of buying existing stations. The firm did, however, said that the new network would complement a global retail network which Aramco is already operated through joint ventures.
The new subsidiary would help authorities in Saudi Arabia to go through with an initial public offering of the shares of Aramco, after plans to do so this year were postponed.
Last month, Amin Nasser, the chief executive of the company, said that the initial public offering (IPO) would “certainly” happen when conditions are right.
Talking in Abu Dhabi, Nasser said that Mohammed Bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi, and Khalid al-Falih, the energy minister, were both aiming at a listing within three years.
In an interview with CNBC, he stated: “I think his royal highness and his excellency, the minister, talked about 2021.”
The plans to sell an approximate five percent stake in Aramco were announced by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman way back in 2016. It was billed as a central cog in the economic modernisation drive of the kingdom.
The state-owned oil company was aiming for a $2 trillion (£1.55 trillion) pricing or higher, however, the float has been progressively delayed to 2018, 2019 and now 2021.