A worker surveys the scene at Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq oil field on October 12. (Stanislav KrasilnikovTASS via Getty Images)

The Aramco IPO: Saudis Take Part of Their Gold Mine Public (AUDIO INTERVIEW)

The Media Line looks at what’s behind the move, and what it can mean for Riyadh and far, far beyond

Saudi Arabia this week put into motion the sale of shares in its petroleum behemoth, Saudi Aramco. The goal is not only to raise funds for a kingdom-wide redevelopment plan aimed at moving away from crude as a sole source of income, but also to define a value for what has been reported to be the world’s most profitable company.

It is the first time that the House of Saud is allowing outsiders to hold shares in the Dharan-based firm since 1980, when it finished nationalizing or buying up any outstanding portions in what began life as the foreign-owned Arabian-American Oil Company.

Saudi Aramco’s current output is estimated to be some 10 million barrels a day, making it the world’s largest oil company – and by far. According to some reports, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the man behind the national diversification plan dubbed Saudi Vision 2030, is seeking to give it a $2 trillion valuation.

To find out what the IPO can mean not only for Saudi Arabia, but for world markets, The Media Line spoke with Dr. Iman Nasseri, managing director for the Middle East at the Facts Global Energy Group, a London-based consultancy.

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