Saudi Arabia says vast oil reserves even bigger than thought

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Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih confirmed on Wednesday that the IPO would take place by 2021 as he revealed plans to finance the Sabic acquisition partly through bond sales.

Saudi Arabia previously announced that oil and gas reserves as of December 31, 2017 were 266.3 billion barrels of oil and 307.9 trillion standard cubic feet of gas respectively. "We are serious about restoring balance to the market", Falih said at a press conference in Riyadh. The external audit was started as part of preparations for the initial public offering of state oil company Saudi Aramco.

He called on the industry to use this metric alongside profitability.

However, "a cause for concern is that the EIA (Energy Information Administration) data was not all rosy, as the crude drawback of 1.7 million barrels came below market expectation of a 2.5 million barrel draw back", he added.

Saudi Arabia, the world´s top oil exporter, is the third biggest crude producer after the United States and Russian Federation.

Falih said Saudi production had fallen to 10.2 million bpd, down from the roughly 11 million bpd it was pumping when oil producers made a decision to end a production cut deal in May.

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Falih said Saudi Arabia's oil production has fallen to 10.2 million barrels per day, from 11 million last May.

The revisions come after an independent audit by consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton.

Falih said Saudi oil remains among the cheapest in the world to extract, at only $4 a barrel.

Oil has ticked upwards again today for its eighth straight session as Opec cuts in the New Year and hopes US-China trade talks pushed prices up.

While Aramco prepares for its debut worldwide bond, the kingdom itself sold $7.5 billion of global debt on Wednesday in the first test of how much damage the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi has inflicted on investor appetite.

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