Saudi Aramco, on hunt for joint ventures, sells its first LNG cargo
The oil giant wants to be a major player in gas and is ‘in discussion with a lot of partners around the world’, its CEO says
Riyadh — Saudi Aramco’s CEO said on Thursday that the company is in discussions with many partners around the world regarding potential joint ventures in gas, and that it has sold its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo.
The state oil giant wants to become a major player in gas and is eyeing projects around the world to help it gain a firm foothold in international gas business, Amin Nasser said in Riyadh.
“There is a lot of potential to grow in gas.... We are currently in discussion with a lot of partners around the world for growing our international gas position,” he said. “For the time being, we are looking at potential joint ventures or partnerships,” he said, adding that Aramco will also be looking at potentially exporting gas through both pipelines and as LNG.
Aramco’s trading arm, Aramco Trading, has sold its first LNG from Singapore, Nasser said. It sold the LNG cargo on the spot market late March to an Indian buyer, a source familiar with the matter said.
Aramco is pushing ahead with its conventional and unconventional gas exploration and production programme to feed its fast-growing industries, as the company plans to increase its gas output and become an exporter. The state oil giant plans to boost its gas production to 23-billion standard cubic feet a day from about 14-billion now.
Aramco has been looking at gas assets in Russia, Australia and Africa, Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih had said.
Nasser said a decision to list Aramco is up to the Saudi government and will be done after its acquisition of a majority stake in Saudi petrochemical maker Sabic is closed.
In 2018, Aramco postponed until 2021 an initial public offering aimed at raising money for a government looking to cut its budget deficit and diversify its economy beyond oil.
Aramco is buying a 70% stake in Sabic, the world’s fourth-biggest petrochemicals company, from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) in a deal worth $69.1bn. Aramco has said the deal will be closed in 2020.