Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser. Image courtesy of Saudi Aramco/Twitter.

The CEO of Saudi Aramco said Wednesday that the Saudi government would keep a majority stake if the company decides to move forward with its first ever initial public offering.

In a letter published in “The Arabian Sun,” Saudi Aramco’s weekly magazine, CEO Amin Nasser said any plans to offer shares in state-owned Saudi Aramco would see the government retain “a controlling interest.”

Saudi Aramco confirmed last week that it is considering its first ever IPO.

The state-owned company has begun studying “various options to allow broad public participation in its equity” in either the company as a whole or a bundle of its downstream subsidiaries.

Saudi Aramco did not provide details about the potential size of the offering other than saying it would list an “appropriate percentage of the company’s shares and/or the listing of a bundle its downstream subsidiaries.”

Once the various options have been studied, the findings will be presented to the company’s board of directors who will then make recommendations to the Saudi Aramco Supreme Council.

No further details about a timeline for the potential offer have been disclosed yet.

In his letter, Nasser said the Saudi government’s privatization initiative and economic reform agenda are the two key drivers behind the company’s decision to mull an IPO.

“Saudi Aramco will continue to focus on our long-term vision of becoming the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals enterprise, and we are dedicated to meeting our commitments to our employees — our most valuable asset in contributing to the company’s outstanding success,” Nasser wrote.

Saudi Aramco’s market capitalization could be up to 20 times larger than that of Exxon Mobil, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Exxon Mobil currently has a current market capitalization of $317.34 billion.

Saudi Aramco had 261.1 billion barrels in recoverable crude oil and condensate reserves in 2014 and produced an average 9.5 million barrels of crude oil that same year.


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