The much-anticipated bond prospectus released this week by state-giant Saudi Aramco has fuelled headlines around the globe. Figures such as last year’s huge $111bn profit have generated most of the fervor. But, arguably more fascinating, is that the prospectus offered a rare glimpse into many of the firm’s critical operations.

Upstream is Saudi Aramco’s bread and butter. And the prospectus states that “As at 31 December 2017, the Company’s proved liquids reserves were more than five times the combined proved liquids reserves of the Five Major IOCs.” The firm is also increasingly focused on expanding its downstream footprint and now claims to be the “fourth largest integrated refiner in the world” (MEES, 5 April). (CONTINUED - 1752 WORDS)