Saudi Aramco seeks project finance loan of more than $1 bln - sources

Credit: REUTERS/AHMED JADALLAH

Saudi Aramco has asked banks to submit proposals for a project finance loan of more than $1 billion, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

By Saeed Azhar and Davide Barbuscia

DUBAI, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco has asked banks to submit proposals for a project finance loan of more than $1 billion, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The state oil company's request for proposals (RFPs) was sent this week, one of the sources said.

It was not immediately clear from the RFP the specific nature of the projects the funds will be used for, the sources said.

Aramco was not immediately available to comment.

The request to banks went in a few days after the Sept. 14 attack on two giant Aramco plants which initially halved the crude output of the world's top oil exporter, by shutting down 5.7 million barrels per day of production.

Aramco's Chief Executive Amin Nasser has said the company, which is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO), was still in the process of estimating repair work but that it was "not that significant," given the company's size.

Aramco is the most profitable oil company in the world.

A source told Reuters earlier this week that Saudi Arabia had restored more than 75% of crude output lost after the attacks and would return to full volumes by early next week.

Aramco earlier this year raised $12 billion with its first international bond issue after receiving more than $100 billion in orders.

Last year, Aramco and Malaysia’s Petronas approached banks to replace a short-term $8 billion loan raised for a joint venture with long-term financing of approximately the same size, banking sources said.

Aramco is preparing for the domestic leg of its IPO, although some investors and sources close to the company's thinking say it is unlikely to proceed with a listing this year after the attacks.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar and Davide Barbuscia; additional reporting by Dahlia Nehme, editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)

((Saeed.Azhar@thomsonreuters.com; +971 44536787; Reuters Messaging: saeed.azhar.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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