Saudi Aramco Boss Says Drilling, IPO Unaffected by Oil Price

(Bloomberg) - Saudi Arabia’s oil and natural gas production and drilling activities are unaffected by crude prices at current levels, the state-run producer’s chief executive officer said, signaling that the world’s biggest oil exporter will maintain its battle for market share.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco, will keep investing in oil projects for the long term, and its sales to buyers in East Asia are rising, Amin Nasser told reporters Wednesday at a signing ceremony for a gas-processing plant near the eastern city of Jubail. Aramco is continuing its plans for an initial public offering and is studying whether to list shares on an overseas stock exchange as well as in Saudi Arabia, he said.

“We are not worried - the number of our customers in Asia is growing, and different customers see big value in doing business with Saudi Aramco,” Nasser said. “Compared to the beginning of the year, oil prices are continuously improving.”

Saudi Arabia has been pumping at near-record levels to defend sales in Asia, its biggest market, amid an increase in global supply from high-cost producers including some U.S. shale drillers. The kingdom led the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in November to abandon limits on output, and benchmark Brent crude tumbled to a 12-year low in January. Brent futures have gained more than 70 percent since then and were 7 cents higher at $46.73 a barrel in London at 12:46 p.m. local time.

Nasser made his remarks at a contract-signing ceremony for the Fadhili offshore gas plant. India’s Larsen & Toubro Ltd. secured a contract to build the facility, and Engie SA of France and Saudi Electricity Co. were awarded a contract for a power plant at Fadhili. The Fadhili project will cost more than $13.3 billion (50 billion riyals), he said.

- With assistance from Sam Wilkin. To contact the reporter on this story: Wael Mahdi in Kuwait at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nayla Razzouk at Bruce Stanley


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