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Saudi Aramco Considers Listing $30 Billion Trading Arm As Oil Prices Soar

Saudi oil giant Aramco is discussing with major international banks the possibility of listing 30 percent of its trading arm, Aramco Trading, 100 percent of which could be valued at around $30 billion, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg on Tuesday.

Saudi Aramco, the world’s single biggest oil producer and most valuable oil company by market capitalization, is in talks with banks including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. about the potential to carry out an initial public offering (IPO) of Aramco Trading, Bloomberg’s source say.

If Aramco decides to go through with the plan—which still may change and the oil giant may back out of the idea--Aramco Trading’s IPO could become one of the largest stock market listings in the world this year.

Aramco Trading could be valued at as much as $30 billion, two of Bloomberg’s sources said, while the Saudi giant is reportedly considering listing 30 percent of the trading arm. So far this year, the largest IPO was South Korea’s battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution, which raised $10.8 billion in January.

Aramco is now reportedly looking to capitalize on the surging oil prices and oil trading business globally amid supply constraints and altered trade flows after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions and self-sanctioning of buyers of Russia’s oil.

Aramco Trading was established as Saudi Aramco’s trading arm in 2011 and has grown from trading refined products, blending components, bulk petrochemicals, and polyolefins, to crude and LNG trading. In 2016, Aramco Trading expanded into third-party trading, its website says.

During Q1 2022, the most volatile quarter on record, oil majors, especially Europe’s supermajors Shell, BP, and TotalEnergies, reported “exceptional” trading results, which contributed to their highest quarterly earnings in years, together with record high natural gas prices and the highest oil prices since 2014.

Saudi Aramco, for its part, reported this weekend a net profit of $39.5 billion for the first quarter, an 82-percent annual jump and a record quarterly profit for Aramco since it went public three years ago.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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