Two state-owned Chinese oil companies have expressed interest in directly purchasing a share of Saudi Aramco, Reuters reports.
The two companies, PetroChina and Sinopec, have reached out to Saudi Aramco, expressing interest in the direct purchase of a stake in the company, sources told Reuters.
“The Chinese want to secure oil supplies,” an industry source told Reuters, adding that “[t]hey are willing to take the whole 5 percent, or even more, alone.”
No decision on the offer has been made, the sources told Reuters, but they indicated that Saudi Aramco was considering a private sale of stock to Chinese investors prior to the initial public offering (IPO).
“A range of options, for the public listing of Saudi Aramco, continue to be held under active review. No decision has been made and the IPO process remains on track,” a company spokesman told Reuters.
Last week, Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia was considering a private offering of Saudi Aramco stock. The company denied the report, tweeting that it was “entirely speculative” and that the “IPO process is on track for 2018,” according to Platts.
Russian, South Korean, and Japanese sovereign wealth funds have also expressed interest in acquiring a stake in the company, sources told Reuters.
Saudi Arabia has been planning a 5% IPO of Saudi Aramco, its state-owned oil company, as part of its economic modernization program, Vision 2030, in an effort to decrease Saudi Arabia’s dependence upon oil revenues.
The IPO plans have been plagued with rumors of delays. Senior officials continue to disagree over key components of the project, according to Reuters’ sources.