Since 2016, Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producing company has been in the media spotlight over the potential Initial Public Offering (IPO) of a percentage of the company. The value estimates mentioned (up to US$2 trillion) of only a small portion of the company (5%) highlights the potentially high value of National Oil Companies (NOC). The Aramco situation opens up some key questions for Asia Pacific based NOCs including:
- Who is already listed?
- What are the advantages of an IPO?
- What are the negatives?
- Who may list?
Around the globe NOCs have been partially listed on domestic and foreign stock exchanges, with the majority from Europe. In Europe, Equinor is a prime example of a partially listed NOC, with 67% of the company owned by the Norwegian Government and the remainder publicly owned through the Oslo Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange. Due to the controlling stake, the company is managed by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.
In Russia, both Rosneft and Gazprom are majority owned by the Russian government. Both companies are listed on the Moscow Exchange and the London Stock Exchange, with Gazprom also listed in Germany. The Russian government owns approximately 50% of both Rosneft and Gazprom, and observers potentially identify these companies as not only providing a source of revenue but also supporting the strategic energy interests of the Russian government.
Other European NOCs listed on European stock exchanges include:
- OMV Group - Austria
- ENI - Italy
- Total - France
- MOL Group - Hungary
- Galp Energia - Portugal
In Asia, the Chinese State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) have led the way with IPOs on a number of exchanges. All of the three main SOEs - CNPC, Sinopec and CNOOC – have subsidiaries listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSX). The ownership of these subsidiaries by their parent companies is typically above 60%1.
There are no other listed NOCs in the Asia Pacific region, but there are a wide range of national petroleum companies that vary in size depending on the level of oil and gas development in the country.