Aramco Does Not Plan More Bonds This Year, CEO Says

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil firm, will not issue more bonds this year after its debut $12 billion international debt sale earlier this month, Chief Executive Amin Nasser told a conference in Riyadh on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Aramco’s future debt issues will depend on its funding requirements, but the firm will maintain a prudent approach in managing its balance sheet, he said.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, chairman of Aramco, said this week that Aramco’s bonds were “only the beginning” and the company will remain active in the debt markets in the future.

Meanwhile, the company also dipped a toe into the natural gas business by selling its first cargo of the fuel.

Aramco sold the shipment of liquefied natural gas from Singapore, Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser told reporters, without giving additional details. Aramco’s trading subsidiary sold the cargo last month to an Indian buyer, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg/Yahoo News added.

Aramco seeks to become a “major player” in the gas industry and is looking for potential joint ventures and partnerships, Nasser said in Riyadh. “There is a lot of potential to grow our gas in the kingdom. At the same time, we are looking at international gas.”

The LNG deal is the latest example of Aramco’s effort to expand outside its historical business of pumping and selling crude. The company plans to buy a controlling stake in the Middle East’s largest petrochemicals maker, Saudi Basic Industries Corp., and is investing in refineries in Asia and beyond.

While it doesn’t produce LNG itself, Aramco has been looking at gas assets in Arctic Russia and Africa, Al-Falih also said Wednesday in Riyadh. In January, it hired an employee from Singapore’s Pavilion Energy Pte Ltd. to develop its LNG business, focusing on trading and marketing.

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