Saudi exchange counting on foreign funds to aid Aramco IPO, chief says

Saudi exchange counting on foreign funds to aid Aramco IPO, chief says

Aramco, which wants to develop its downstream business as the government prepares to sell up to 5% of the world's largest oil firm in an initial public offering in 2018, wants to use oil as a major petrochemicals feedstock.

Many private analysts think the $100 billion target is too ambitious, but even a $50 billion IPO could strain the Saudi market, which has a capitalisation of about $500 billion especially if the burden is not shared with a foreign exchange, Reuters said.

Saudi Aramco past year said it would invest $18 billion in Motiva's Port Arthur refinery, which can process up to 603,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd).

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is expected to attend an event in Houston on Saturday where Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih and Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser are to discuss the plans, according to a Saudi Aramco representative.

Incidentally, one memoranda will examine the use of mixed-feed ethylene production technologies by TechnipFMC while the other memoranda will assess the use of production and aromatics extraction for paraxylene and benzene with technologies developed by Honeywell UOP.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, is planning to almost double its refining capacity from current 5.4 million barrels of oil per day by expanding in the kingdom and overseas, where it has stakes in refineries in China, the United States, Japan and South Korea.

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The cracker will feed other petrochemical and specialty chemical plants representing an overall amount of $4 billion investment by third party investors, it said, taking the total investment to $9 billion.

He also visited areas affected by Hurricane Harvey which have been rebuilt as a result of Saudi Aramco US subsidiary Aramco Services Company's contribution under the Houston Habitat for Humanity initiative.

Coffman did not provide a timeline for the possible expansion of the Port Arthur refinery's crude oil processing capacity.

The Reliance Industries refinery in Jhimnigar, India, has the largest capacity in the world at 1.2 million barrels per day.

Aramco said in 2017 that it would invest $18bn in Motiva to expand the refinery and move into petrochemical production.

The price tag for a large ethane cracker is typically over $6 billion, according to Steve Lewandowski, vice president of Global Olefins at researcher IHS Markit.

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