Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said on Tuesday that his company is planning to ramp up production to meet growing global demand.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Nasser said during a press briefing that the company sees global demand rising and that it is “meeting that call on us.”
Nasser told CNN Money that he believes supply and demand will come into balance either at the end of 2016 or during the first quarter of 2017.
“Prices will trend higher when that happens,” Nasser said.
Despite nearly two years of low oil prices, Saudi Arabia has consistently pumped about 10 million barrels per day since late 2014 as the kingdom battles for market share.
Newly appointed Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih is expected to continue Saudi Arabia’s current production policy.
The International Energy Agency said in March that, while there are signs that oil prices may have bottomed out, slowing demand growth in the Unites States and China continued to weigh on prices.
Soft demand growth in the United States and China dragged global demand growth down to a one-year low of 1.2 million in the fourth quarter.
That level was “dramatically below” the near five-year high of 2.3 million bpd seen in the previous quarter, the IEA said.
The IEA currently expects global demand to grow by about 1.2 million bpd for 2016.
The American Petroleum Institute reported on Tuesday that U.S. crude inventories grew by 3.45 million barrels to a record high of 543.1 million barrels for the week ending on May 6, Reuters said.
Commenting on Saudi Aramco’s pending IPO, Nasser told CNN Money that the offer is a “vote of confidence in what we have.”
Nasser added that the listing will happen “in due course” but there is no set date for the offer yet.
Saudi Aramco announced in January that it is 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.”
Once the 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.
The kingdom’s government is expected to retain a majority stake in the company.
In a letter published in “The Arabian Sun,” Nasser said the Saudi government’s privatization initiative and economic reform agenda are the two key drivers behind the company’s decision to consider 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 in January.