Environmental groups warn banks over Saudi Aramco: Report

Green groups warn banks involved in backing Aramco's initial public offering of financing the destruction of the planet.

    Saudi Aramco plans to float around five percent of the state-owned company in 2020 or 2021 [Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]
    Saudi Aramco plans to float around five percent of the state-owned company in 2020 or 2021 [Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]

    At least eight environmental groups have warned banks that are connected to Saudi Aramco's planned market float that they run the risk of financing the destruction of the planet by supporting the public listing of the world's biggest oil producer, a report in the Guardian revealed.

    The green groups, which include Friends of the Earth and Oil Change International, sent a letter to the chief executives of banks that the listing would undercut efforts to decrease emissions in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

    The groups warned that the stock market launch would be "the biggest single infusion of capital into the fossil fuel industry" since the agreement was signed.

    The letter from the green groups also criticised the banks' willingness to help raise billions of dollars for Saudi Arabia "given the horrendous human rights record of the Saudi regime".

    "Recent examples of this include the role of Saudi agents in the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018, and the involvement of Saudi forces in indiscriminate air strikes on civilians in Yemen," the letter said.

    Aramco has said it plans to float around five percent of the state-owned company in 2020 or 2021 in what could potentially be the world's biggest stock sale.

    The mammoth initial public offering (IPO) forms the cornerstone of a reform programme envisaged by the kingdom's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to wean the Saudi economy off its reliance on oil.

    It aims to raise up to $100bn based on a $2 trillion valuation of the company, but investors have debated whether Aramco is worth that much and there have been repeated delays in the launch originally envisaged for 2018.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies