Saudi Arabia says it won't freeze oil production without Iran as it prepares to sell Saudi Aramco

 
Jessica Morris
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SAUDI ARABIA-RIYADH
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Saudi Arabia has said it won't freeze oil production without participation from Opec rebel Iran, while it plans to sell a stake of "less than five per cent" in Saudi Aramco.

During a five-hour long interview with Bloomberg News, Mohammed Bin Salman, the deputy crown prince, said: "If all countries agree to freeze production, we’re ready."

"If there is anyone that decides to raise their production, then we will not reject any opportunity that knocks on our door."

Read more: How the oil price rout will affect Saudi Arabia's economy

Oil prices fell as the news cast doubt on the freeze deal which was expected to be finalised a meeting in Doha on 17 April. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Russia and Venezuela agreed in February to hold output at January levels if other countries join.

While Iranian oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, will attend Doha the Opec rebel has repeatedly said it won't take part until its oil production has returned to pre-sanction levels.

However, the news contradicts previous reports that Saudi Arabia would go ahead with the freeze deal in April without Iran.

It was also revealed that Saudi Arabia is creating a giant public investment fund worth more than $2 trillion to help reduce its reliance on oil.

This also involves selling a stake in the parent company of state-owned Saudi Aramco as early as 2017 and no later than 2018.

Read more: Oil company forecasts aren't in line with reality

The prince said it plans to offer shares in the whole of the company. rather than just some of its refining subsidiaries.

Bloomberg estimates that a successful float could value Aramco at more than $2.5 trillion, based on an estimate of $10 a barrel.

Plans to sell part of the state-owned oil producer were first revealed at the start of this year.

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