Saudi energy minister: Crackdown will not hit investments

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Saudi Arabia’s corruption investigations are linked to a just few individuals and will not hinder investments in the kingdom, its energy minister said on Thursday.

Khalid al-Falih said the crackdown was way overdue and would also not have any impact on plans to float shares in oil giant Saudi Aramco.

“Everybody understands that this is a limited, domestic affair that the government is simply cleaning house,” he said on the sidelines of the UN climate conference in Bonn, Germany.

The energy minister said many foreign investors who had been have been doing business in Saudi Arabia for decades “will tell you that they have not seen corruption in their interactions with the Saudi government or with the Saudi entities”.

Vision 2030

“It (the crackdown) has no impact on foreign direct investment. It has no impact whatsoever on the kingdom's openness, capital flows and our wide open investment environment,” he added.

Saudi Arabia’s plan to float around 5 percent of Aramco in an initial public offering (IPO) is a centerpiece of Vision 2030, a wide-ranging reform plan to diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil. Falih said a decision is yet to be made on where the listing would be made.

On the upcoming meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna at the end of the month to decide the fate of a global oil production cut, Falih said an extension beyond the March 2018 expiry was needed to rebalance the oil market.

OPEC and ten other oil producers led by Russia agreed last year to curb production by some 1.8 million barrels per day to get rid of an oversupply in the market.