King Sal­man touts Saudi re­forms in an­nual ad­dress

The National - News - - FRONT PAGE - LIZ COOK­MAN

Saudi Ara­bia’s King Sal­man touted his coun­try’s re­forms in his an­nual ad­dress yes­ter­day and stressed the im­por­tance of his govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to pub­licly list shares of the state-run oil com­pany Aramco. He also used his speech to warn Iran against fur­ther ag­gres­sions.

Two key Saudi Aramco pro­cess­ing sites were tar­geted by drones and mis­siles in Septem­ber, knock­ing out nearly 6 per cent of daily global crude pro­duc­tion. King Sal­man said Saudi Ara­bia’s abil­ity to quickly re­cover and meet global oil de­mand af­ter the at­tacks proved “its lead­ing role in en­sur­ing the se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity of global en­ergy sup­plies”.

Saudi Aramco is the king­dom’s oil and gas pro­ducer, pump­ing more than 10 mil­lion bar­rels of crude oil a day, about 10 per cent of global de­mand.

The king­dom plans to sell 1.5 per cent of the com­pany on the lo­cal ex­change next month, but the suc­cess of this of­fer­ing is heav­ily de­pen­dent on the con­tri­bu­tion of lo­cal Saudi in­vestors and funds. The king’s son and heir, Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, touted the IPO as a way to cre­ate new streams of rev­enue for large-scale projects able to cre­ate thou­sands of jobs for young Saudis.

Saudi Ara­bia is look­ing to raise as much as $25.6 bil­lion (Dh94bn) from the sale.

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