Saudi Aramco said on Wednesday it was establishing a domestic fuel-retailing subsidiary as part of the national oil company's drive to expand into downstream businesses.
The new firm, Saudi Aramco Retail Co, will create a network of filling stations within Saudi Arabia to sell automotive fuels, Aramco said without giving details of the size, cost or time-frame for the network.
In April, Aramco said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with French firm Total to evaluate the feasibility of jointly buying a retail service station network in Saudi Arabia.
But Wednesday’s statement did not mention Total or the possibility of buying existing stations. The new Saudi network will complement a global retail network which Aramco already operates through joint ventures, the company said.
Aramco is now focusing on a range of downstream projects, including the purchase of a major stake in petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries, which could boost its value and attractiveness to international investors, ultimately allowing the IPO to go ahead.