Opec and its allies have been responding to requests from the US for increased oil production and doing what they can to prevent prices rising, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said. Opec member states and their allies including Russia “did our job and more” in raising output by about 1.5m barrels a day, Prince Mohammed said in an interview with Bloomberg published Friday. This would more than offset an estimated 700,000 b/d taken off world markets as a result of the US decision to reinstate sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.
The crown prince also gave a new timetable for the proposed initial public offering of a stake in Saudi Aramco, the national oil company, saying the plan was to sell the shares in late 2020 or early 2021. He also confirmed that he was still expecting a valuation for the company above $2tn, with a sale of a 5 percent stake intended to raise $100bn. The target date for the IPO, originally planned for 2018, has been slipping, delayed by legal and regulatory concerns as well as growing doubts about the ambitious valuation.
While the Saudi government said in August that it remained committed to the sale, it did not set any timetable and those close to the process said at the time that it had been postponed indefinitely. In recent months US President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked Opec for pushing up oil prices. At the UN General Assembly last month, he accused Opec members of “as usual ripping off the rest of the world”, adding: “And I don’t like it”.