Middle Eastern NOCs are on a modernisation drive

By The Wildcat 28 July 2017
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A Saudi Arabian NGL plant. (Saudi Aramco) A Saudi Arabian NGL plant. (Saudi Aramco)

Some of the Middle East’s biggest NOCs have adjusted their strategies to list their shares, attract foreign investment and engage in more meaningful partnerships with IOCs. But can the region’s state oil giants – which have a reputation for rigidity and scepticism towards foreign ownership – really ease up and move with the times?

Saudi Arabia has forbidden IOCs from developing its oil since the sector was renationalised in the 1970s. It offered gas development opportunities to IOCs in the 1990s, but talks collapsed after Saudi Aramco and the international companies failed to agree terms. The Rub’ al-Khali area was later offered for exploration, but IOCs failed to find commercial deposits and complained domestic gas prices could not support development. However, there are signs Aramco wants to change. Saudi officials have met the heads of some of the world’s biggest IOCs to discuss joint gas ventures in the kingdom. 

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