>> It's the centerpiece of Saudi Arabia's reform plan. But plans to list 5% of state-owned Aramco could be thrown into disarray by China. Reuters believes the state-owned oil companies, PetroChina and Sinopec, have written to Aramco expressing an interest in a direct deal. They're part of a state-run consortium which includes China's sovereign wealth fund.
>> There certainly is a good bit of diplomacy from Saudi Arabia. Which is looking to try and lever itself back into the Chinese oil market, having been somewhat displaced by the Russians. And it would come with, so the story suggests, a reciprocal deal to provide help to the Chinese refining industry.
So it makes a lot of sense. It could mean that the Aramco IPO is at least delayed yet further.>> The idea of a public listing, which could raise $100 billion, hasn't gone down well in Riyadh. Some think it's like selling the crown jewels cheaply at a time of low oil prices.
This way Aramco could offer smaller portions of shares on local exchanges. China's not the only country said to be showing an interest. South Korea, Japan, and Russia are apparently keen on a stake. Some now think Aramco may opt for a private placement of shares ahead of an international listing.
Possibly delaying the world's biggest IPO until 2018.