Saudi Aramco boosting market share as it prepares for listing: CEO

Fri May 27, 2016 8:15am EDT
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By Reem Shamseddine

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi oil giant Aramco is gaining market share and pushing for greater efficiency, chief executive Amin Nasser said in an interview, as it acts as a "bridge" to a future when the nation relies less on energy exports.

Nasser also told Reuters that the state-owned group was pressing on with preparations for its partial privatization via a stock market listing, which he said lay at the heart of Riyadh's "Vision 2030", a long-term economic plan headed by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Riyadh has been the driving force behind OPEC's decision in November 2014 to refuse to cut supply to boost prices. Instead it opted to raise output and fight for market share against higher-cost rivals such as U.S. shale producers - as well as fellow OPEC member Iran which has ramped up its exports since the lifting of international sanctions.

"We are preserving our market share which continues to increase year-on-year," he said in the interview, conducted on Wednesday. "This year, as last year, it is increasing. Our market share is picking up," he added, without giving figures.

Aramco's crude oil exports averaged 7.1 million bpd, up from around 6.8 million bpd in 2014, it said in its 2015 annual review released late on Thursday.

Asia accounted for 65 percent of its total oil exports; an increase from 62.3 percent a year earlier.

An OPEC meeting on June 2 will be the first for new Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih - Saudi Aramco's chairman - at a time when Iranian exports have risen close to pre-sanctions level.

Riyadh's current tactics seem to be working. Oil LCOc1 has recovered to $50 a barrel from a 12-year low of $27 in January despite the Iranian increase.   Continued...

Amin H. Nasser, President and CEO of Saudi Arabian Oil Company Saudi Aramco, attends the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative summit in Paris, France, October 16, 2015.  REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen/File Photo