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Middle East NOCs under pressure

Moves to privatise state energy firms in the Middle East have begun, but progress will be slow and patchy

The details of exactly where and how it's to happen are still keenly awaited. But already the planned initial public offering (IPO) of 5% of Saudi Aramco, the kingdom's giant energy firm, is grabbing all the headlines. International banks and law firms are tripping over each other as they jostle to become part of the action. The Aramco sale is an integral element in Vision 2030, the plan drawn up by Mohammed bin Salman, when he was deputy crown prince, to wean Saudi Arabia off its dependence on oil and boost the private sector. While unveiling the strategy in April 2016 he suggested that the company was worth $2 trillion to $3 trillion, meaning that the IPO could raise as much as $150bn. Alt

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