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Saudi Aramco's light in the desert

A partial sale of the state-owned firm is just part of the plan for a world-beating company that also wants to find more gas, refine more oil and produce even more crude

KHALID al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s new oil minister and already chairman of Saudi Aramco, oversees a company about to embark on its biggest change since nationalisation was completed in 1980. The new Saudi economic plan calls for the kingdom to shift away from oil as its paramount revenue source, while selling a minority share in Aramco to public investors. But the world’s largest oil company was already in the middle of transformation to meet new realities: low oil prices, soaring domestic gas demand, a shift to downstream projects, the shale revolution and the eastward drift of its main customers. Aramco is the descendant of the Arabian American Oil Company, a consortium of the forerunners o

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