04/ Dec’19

Saudis want OPEC to keep oil prices up ahead of Aramco IPO: report

Lipow Oil Associates president Andy Lipow discusses oil prices and demand in a

Saudi Arabia wants the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to keep oil prices higher for a longer amount of time ahead of the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, according to Persian Gulf officials cited by The Wall Street Journal.

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OPEC will meet with a 10-nation group led by Russia on Dec. 5 and 6 in Vienna. The parties will discuss prolonging an agreement that cuts production by more than 1 million barrels a day past its set end date of March 2020, The Journal reported.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 18, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia needs “stable prices of at least $60 a barrel,” a Saudi oil adviser said according to The Journal. “It can't afford to have a declining oil price as its would hurt domestic investors who have bought into the IPO.”

Saudi Aramco is expected to announce share prices on Dec. 5

The kingdom formally began an initial public offering of a sliver of oil giant Saudi Aramco in November after years of delay, hoping international and local investors will pay billions of dollars for a stake in the kingdom's crown jewels.

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An approval by Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority served as the starting gun for an IPO promised by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since 2016. But unlike traditional IPOs, Saudi Aramco offered no hoped-for price range for its shares nor any idea how much of the firm would be offered to investors on Riyadh's Tadawul stock exchange.

Keeping production low may not be greeted with enthusiasm by Iraq and Nigeria, which have been producing above agreed levels, Saudi oil officials said according to The Journal.

The reported discussions come after gas prices in the U.S. rose nearly 1.5 percent in September after drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oil fields, according to energy experts.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.