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RBC Capital Markets: Aramco Shake-Up aims to fast track IPO



The change of chairman of oil giant Saudi Aramco paves the way to quickly track the listing of the world's largest oil company, as Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman wants, Helima Croft of RBC Capital Markets told CNBC on Tuesday.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih has lost his role as chairman of Saudi Aramco, al-Falih announced on Twitter on Monday amid a broader shake-up in Saudi Arabia's most important energy roles.

Saudi Arabia wants to share its energy, industrial and mining ministry with the current minister, al-Falih, who is still at the helm of energy policy. Industry and mining will be the privilege of a new minister, to lead a new ministry.

Al-Falih will resign from his role as chairman of Aramco's attempt to avoid a conflict of interest in the run-up to its much-hyped, long-awaited IPO. Aramco will now officially be separated from the Ministry of Energy.

The move in Aramco management to the head of the Public Investment Fund, "is about Mohammed bin Salman taking control of Aramco and really supporting it for IPO, again, on a very fast timeline," RBC's Croft told CNBC.

The broader shake-up at the Department of Energy and Mines and at Aramco signals that the Saudi leadership wants the listing to be done quickly and wants people who are very supportive of this process, Croft added.

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"There is now a sense of urgency and the fact that bond issuance went better than expected, I think it has given management a sense that they can do it this time, "she said.

Aramco is ready for listing, but it will be the company's only shareholder, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will decide when the IPO will take place, the world said the largest oil-producing company last month.

Originally announced in 201

6, plans for Saudi Aramco's listing have faced several delays and various stumbling blocks, including a valuation of $ 2 trillion that the Saudis hope for, the estimate of Saudi Arabia's oil reserves shrouded in secrecy, and the international arena for IPO.

It is alleged that Mohammed bin Salman still maintains that Saudi Aramco should be valued at $ 2 trillion, while analysts are still skeptical that the world's largest oil company is really worth that much.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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