• Why the IPO of Saudi Arabia’s crown jewel has stalled

    Maybe the biggest issue is that an IPO could have forced the kingdom to divulge closely guarded state secrets. Going public requires transparency.

    #Aramco would likely be forced to lift the veil of secrecy around private information about the size of the kingdom’s oil reserves. Keeping those numbers confidential has added to Saudi Arabia’s clout inside OPEC.

    “Anybody with a smartphone would have access to detailed reserve figures that are now state secrets,” said Jim Krane, an energy analyst at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

    The Aramco problems could raise doubt about the kingdom’s commitment to the wise strategy of diversifying away from fossil fuels by selling a stake in Aramco.

    The rationale behind the diversification “remains sound,” Krane said, but the method “turned out to be flawed.”

    The stalled IPO has forced Saudi Arabia’s to look elsewhere for resources.

    The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund is now seeking $12 billion in loans from international banks, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.


  • Goldman Sachs meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

    With the billion, maybe trillion, dollar Aramco IPO looming sometime in the future, Zerohedge reports that Goldman Sachs’ CEO did some more of “god’s work” when he met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, exposing MbS without his traditional headdress.

    Blankfein tweeted, along with the below photo…

    “The Crown Prince is always impressive when he sets out his vision for the KSA. Can’t remember WHEN my beard turned white, but I remember WHY. MBS is much younger and I’m sure handles stress better!”

    #arabie_saoudite #goldman_sachs #mbs

  • اعتقال 11 أميرا سعوديا.. وثلاث روايات تشرح الأسباب | الخليج الجديد

    Trois versions à propos des 11 émirs saoudiens emprisonnés hier :
    – la version officielle, celle du journal Sabq, reprise par l’Orient-Le Jour par exemple : ils réclamaient des sous (ce qui a pour résultat/but de soulever contre eux l’opinion saoudienne)
    – version du Twitter Fares, selon laquelle lesdits princes ont réagi après l’arrestation de membres de leur famille fortement incités à faire dont de leur fortune (hôtels Marriott et société alimentaire Almaraï)
    – version Mujtahid, il s’agit d’un début de révolte d’une partie de la famille contre sa mise à l’écart à l’instar de l’ex-héritier du trône Bin Nayef...

    Il reste que l’opinion est très remontée contre les hausses du coût de la vie (essence notamment et TVA), au point que des mesures d’urgence ont été prise en faveur des fonctionnaires.
    Depuis le 1er janvier, Aramco, la méga société pétrolière du Royaume est devenue une société par actions, prélude pour beaucoup de Saoudiens à la mise en vente des joyaux du Royaume !


  • Joshua Landis on Twitter: “In some respects, Syria’s move to USSR was driven by the Arab/Israeli conflict.”

    1. In some respects, Syria’s move to USSR was driven by the Arab/Israeli conflict.
    2. US was planning to rebuild Syrian military in 1947, with training mission and arms sales.
    3. The start of fighting in Palestine in 1947 caused Sec State Marshall to cancel the agreement & training mission.

    He knew that congress could not support helping Syria military w war looming in Palestine. Also Tripartite Arms Embargo imposed by US/FR/GB
    5. Once Syria’s Pres. Quwatli was told of US retraction, his men began counseling him to seek arms from USSR. Quwatli refused for fear of GB
    6. But the refusal of all Western Powers 2 help Syrian military, caused it to turn 2 USSR w friendship agreement & follow Nasser’s arms deal
    7. These BBC interviews w Syrian statesmen & PM, underline that they did not associate Friendship Agreement w becoming Communist, as US did
    8. By organizing failed coups against Khalid al-Azm and Sabri al-Asali’s government, the US undermined the pro-Western politicians of Syria.

    The Baath Party leaders and their military officer sympathizers used the West’s interventions and plotting to go to Nasser & form the UAR.
    10. Politicians, such as Azm & Quwatli, who knew making Nasser was a bad idea & who had fought for Syrian independence, had to go along.
    11. They feared being called Western stooges. They also were confused by the West’s stupidity and aggression against them.
    12. This is the context of these BBC interviews, which were carried out during the lead up to the UAR and the time of the Suez Crisis.
    13. Between 1955 and 1958, Syria received about $294 million from the Soviet Union for military and economic assistance.
    14. In a meeting of Ambassadors at end of WWII, US decided best postwar strategy was to align w KSA & Syria. The KSA because of oil & Aramco
    15. Syria, because pipelines would run from KSA thru Syr. Also Syria had no exclusive agreement with FR or GB. It was free & turned to US
    16. Khalid al-Azm who was PM at end 1948, negotiated military agreement w US & base rights w GB, which wanted 2 est MEDO - Mid East Def Org
    17. But the US broke off these agreements to support Jewish State in Palestine & then supported Chief of Staff Husni Zaim to overthrow Azm.
    18. US supported Azm/Quwatli overthrow, even though they were democratically elected gov, because Zaim offered to sign armistice w Israel.
    19. Zaim also offered to build Tapline, oil pipeline that Syr parliament put on hold, and to arrest communists, etc.

    The US was not a driving force behind Zaim coup. Zaim was determined 2 take power, b/c Quwatli gov was going to accuse him of corruption.
    21. Pres Quwatli was going to use Zaim as the scapegoat for loss of 1948 war. Major corruption trials were leading to top officers.


  • Saudi to restructure its oil giant Aramco - Al Arabiya News

    Saudi Arabia approved on Friday the restructuring of the kingdom’s oil giant Aramco, a move that will see it separated from the oil ministry, sources told Al Arabiya News Channel.

    The country’s Supreme Economic Council approved the restructure plan that had been proposed by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

    The restructuring comes soon after Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz announced a major government reshuffle.

    Prince Mohammad bin Salman, also minister of defense, was appointed as the deputy crown prince earlier this week. King Salman also appointed Saudi Aramco’s chief executive Khaled Al-Falih as chairman of the state oil firm and health minister.

    In a statement on Wednesday, Aramco described Falih as the outgoing CEO and president, and also as chairman of its board of directors.

    The state-owned giant is a world leader in crude exports. Aramco is involved in hydrocarbons exploration, production, refining, distribution, shipping and marketing.❞