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BP : Aramco oil reserves audit two-thirds complete, may not be finished in 2017 - sources

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11/07/2017 | 09:12am CEST
FILE PHOTO: Logo of Saudi Aramco is seen at the 20th Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference (MOES 2017) in Manama

LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) - An audit of Saudi Aramco's oil reserves is unlikely to be completed before the end of 2017 because of the huge scale of the task, sources familiar with the matter said, a later timeframe than previously indicated.

The audit has so far confirmed the reserves figures earlier given by Saudi Arabia, the sources said, an important part of the state oil company's preparatory work for its planned initial public offering next year.

Saudi Arabia's reserves of easily recoverable oil have long been considered the world's largest. But there have also been questions about their volume and quality, and the audit seeks to provide internationally recognised figures for investors.

"It's a huge task," a source familiar with the matter said, commenting on the progress of the reserves audit. "They are about two-thirds of the way through. It's all going well and smoothly - no surprises."

For nearly 30 years - despite rising production, large swings in oil prices and improved technology - Riyadh has annually reported the same number for reserves of 261 billion barrels, according to BP's statistical review.

Dallas-based DeGolyer and MacNaughton, and Gaffney, Cline and Associates, part of Baker Hughes <BHI.N>, are involved in the auditing, sources have said. Baker Hughes declined to comment on the progress of the work, while DeGolyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Asked to comment, Aramco said: "We do not comment on rumours and speculation. Investors will receive relevant information in due course in connection with the IPO."

An industry source had told Reuters in March that Aramco aimed to have one of the two reserves auditors wrap up the review this year, long before the planned listing. But this now looks unlikely.

"Aramco wants to make sure the companies are shown full data to avoid sceptical remarks on its reserves later on," a second source said. "It's unlikely the audit will be finished this year."

A third source said auditing work on the major Aramco fields was completed, leaving smaller fields still to be audited.

A reserves total that is significantly above or below the 261 billion figure is likely to affect Aramco's potential value. Earlier phases of the audit have supported Aramco's statements on the total size of deposits.

The sale of around 5 percent of Aramco next year is a centrepiece of Vision 2030, an ambitious reform plan to diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil which is championed by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

No decision about the location of the international share listing has been announced, fuelling market speculation the IPO could be delayed or shelved. But Prince Mohammad told Reuters in October it was still on track for 2018.

(Additonal reporting by David French in New York and Reem Shamseddine in Khobar, Saudi Arabia; editing by David Evans)

By Alex Lawler and Rania El Gamal

Stocks treated in this article : Exxon Mobil Corporation, BP
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EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION -0.31% 80.45 Delayed Quote.-3.37%
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Financials ($)
Sales 2018 287 B
EBIT 2018 19 594 M
Net income 2018 10 199 M
Debt 2018 36 487 M
Yield 2018 5,26%
P/E ratio 2018 14,82
P/E ratio 2019 14,06
EV / Sales 2018 0,65x
EV / Sales 2019 0,64x
Capitalization 151 B
Chart BP
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BP Technical Analysis Chart | BP. | GB0007980591 | 4-Traders
Technical analysis trends BP
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 24
Average target price 8,12 $
Spread / Average Target 8,0%
EPS Revisions
Robert W. Dudley Group Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Carl-Henric Svanberg Chairman
Andy Hopwood Group COO, Executive VP-Strategy & Regions
Brian Gilvary Group Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director
David Eyton Group Head-Technology
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