An independent audit commissioned by Saudi Arabia has confirmed a slight rise in the kingdoms proven crude oil reserves.
Conducted by consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton (D&M), the audit revealed that the kingdoms total proven crude oil reserves as of the end of 2017 stood at 268.5 billion barrels of oil. This is marginally more than the previously estimated 266.3 billion barrels.
The kingdoms gas reserves have also been revised to 325.1 trillion standard cubic feet of gas from the previously reported 307.9 trillion.
The report is seen as a major development in the countrys efforts to launch an initial public offering for state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco as part of an economic overhaul.
The independent assessment may also bring in increased transparency regarding the nations oil and gas wealth and address longstanding scepticism over the size of its reserves.
Saudi Arabia energy minister Khalid Al Falih told reporters: This certification underscores why every barrel we produce is the most profitable in the world, and why we believe Saudi Aramco is the worlds most valuable company and indeed the worlds most important.
The results point out that the kingdoms reserves of oil and gas are bigger than what we have been announcing.
The planned IPO for Saudi Aramco has been delayed. Falih stated that the IPO will take place in 2021.
The delay comes amid the companys planned purchase of chemical maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC). Through the public listing of Aramco shares, the kingdom hopes to attract a $2tn valuation for the company.
Saudi Arabia is the de facto leader of producer club the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the worlds biggest oil exporter.
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