Saudi Aramco says it will maintain oil and gas investment

Saudi Arabian Oil Company is maintaining investment in oil and natural gas projects as it studies options to sell shares in its parent company and downstream refining or distribution operations, chairman Khalid Al Falih said on Monday.

The world’s biggest oil company hasn’t reduced its investment capacity amid lower crude prices and is building a marine cluster in eastern Saudi Arabia, Mr Al Falih said at a conference in Riyadh. Aramco has formulated a new strategy in response to cheaper oil, he said.

“I’ve continued to encourage fiscal discipline in my role as chairman of Aramco,” Mr Al Falih said. “In our investments capacity, oil and gas has not slowed down.”

Saudi Aramco has announced it is studying options for a share sale. While one route is a full initial public offering, another is to list some of its subsidiaries, the company said in a statement earlier this month. Aramco pumps all of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil, with production at 10.25 million barrels a day in December.

Mr Al Falih added that global oil supply and demand will ultimately balance at a “moderate” price.

He Falih did not say at what price levels the balance might be achieved. But he predicted it would be reached before long.

“Demand will grow, as it has already started in 2015, and there will be a period not far into the future (when) demand will catch up with supply,” he said.

He also said Saudi Arabia could survive a low oil price for “a long, long time”.

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