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Saudi Aramco allows sneak peek into its finances

The company's mammoth $12bn global bond offering allowed a glimpse into its treasure chest for the first time

The world's focus, not surprisingly, has been on Saudi Aramco's $111bn of net income recorded in 2018, making it the most profitable company in the world. But elements of the upstream story were largely ignored. For example, the prospectus showed the company's largest oilfield, Ghawar, undershooting what many had thought was its current capacity of around 5mn bl/d, instead coming in at 3.8mn bl/d. Ghawar has contributed about half of the estimated 150bn barrels of crude that Saudi Arabia has produced to date. Without doubt, Ghawar is an enormous field. Its remaining reserves are put at 48bn bl, so there is still a lot of oil out there, but it will get harder to recover, and require substan

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