Expected to hold a $2 trillion value, one that exceeds the valuations of other oil giants like ExxonMobil
The latest party to express keen interest in what could be the largest public offering is Britain, which is attempting to lower regulations associated with its procedure to list state companies in order to rope in Aramco's very desirable IPO. So much so, that the FCA has even created a new premium listing regime category "to cater for companies controlled by a shareholder that is a sovereign country."
"Regulatory protections for investors lie at the core of the listing regime. However, it is important that these protections remain well-targeted. Refining the listing regime in this way would make U.K. markets more accessible whilst ensuring that the protections afforded by our premium listing regime are focused and proportionate" said Andrew Bailey, FCA Chief Executive.
British Prime minister Theresa May and LSE head Xavier Rolet travelled to Saudi this year in an attempt to lobby on behalf of the country. It seems that New York would also have a good chance of vying for the IPO, especially considering that "J.P. Morgan (Aramco's longtime commercial banker) and Michael Klein (formerly of Citigroup) have been advising Aramco on the financial restructuring that is necessary for the process."
Last week at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, Aramco CEO Amin Nasser revealed the corporation's plan to invest $300 billion over the next decade in an effort to maintain its current capacity and "double gas output." Considering that there is an oil supply glut, particularly in America, many have questioned whether the roadmap to Aramco's success lies not in intensifying oil supply and equalizing increasing demand but rather in adopting a defensive stance that attempts to keep oil prices rising.
Initially, the IPO was supposed to be released in the first quarter of 2018, but since then the timing has been pushed back to later in the year or even 2019. This is likely due to Aramco's "desire to complete the financial restructuring process to make the company more attractive to investors."
Founding partner of HydroCarbon Capital and oil expert Malcom Graham-Wood says, "It's so much of a one-off business. It's a state-owned oil & gas business in the biggest oil producer in the world. It's so difficult to value - what do you value the business at? Investment banks are trying to put a valuation on it so they can get the deal."
This also further explains why the Saudis are pouring so much time and effort into refining Aramco; they know how aware the world is of the immense amount of volatility and uncertainty associated with the IPO. At this rate, powers like China will even most likely want to be involved with the deal, especially if America gets a cut.
One thing is clear for sure: a lot of Aramco's impending success depends on the severe depletion of future oil reserves. Yet, with multiple American oil companies coming to the forefront of the global oil scene, will this assumption hold?