Saudi Aramco chief tells Al Arabiya: IPO will not include oil reserves

Saudi Aramco Chairman Khalid al-Falih speaks to Al Arabiya News Channel at Davos

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Saudi Aramco Chairman Khalid al-Falih has told Al Arabiya News Channel that an initial public offering of the world's largest oil firm could be on the local or international markets but would not include Saudi oil reserves.

Falih spoke in an interview by Al Arabiya News Channel's Nadine Hani held at Davos, where the annual World Economic Forum was held last week.

Falih also said legal studies were to be made to make sure reserves aren’t included and that the IPO will be focused on capabilities in turning production from reserves to financial gains.

"The reserves would not be sold, but the company's ability to produce from the reserves is being studied," he said, adding that the crude oil reserves belong to the state.

"The reserves belong to the state but the company's ability to convert these reserves... into a financial value and at the same time for the company to have a portion of these profits.

"All options are open ... the IPO could be on local or international markets," Falih added.

"The economic value of Saudi Aramco as a company is what will be offered. Naturally, the primary field of Saudi Aramco's work is managing the reserves of Saudi Arabia," Falih said.

Aramco has crude reserves of about 265 billion barrels, over 15 percent of all global oil deposits.

In an interview with The Economist earlier this month, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Riyadh might sell shares in Aramco as part of a privatization drive.