Aramco deploying Saudi-made drones to protect facilities
The official, who recently began working with state-owned defence company Saudi Arabian Military Industries told Russian news agency Novosti that Aramco intends to purchase a number of "Bakir" drones to ensure the security of its oil facilities.
The drone has not yet been revealed to the public, the official said, and is capable of travelling over 4.5 kilometres when not fully loaded.
But the state's control of the company poses multiple risks to investors, as highlighted by the attacks on two key Aramco processing sites in September, which Saudi Arabia and the United States blamed on their mutual foe Iran.
Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, said it would sell 1.5 percent of the company in an initial public offering (IPO) worth $24 to $25.6 billion, scaling down the kingdom's initial plan to sell up to five percent of the firm.
S&P Global Ratings said the stock market debut could enable the kingdom to strengthen its financial position.
Critics, however, have cast doubt over the profitability of the company amid security risks in the region and rising concerns over the long-term use of carbon-based fuels due to climate change.
The plan to sell part of the company is crucial to the crown prince's plans for a wider economic overhaul aimed at raising new streams of revenue for the oil-dependent country, with oil prices currently struggling to reach the price range per barrel analysts say is necessary for Saudi Arabia to balance its budget.
Bin Salman has said listing Aramco is one way for the kingdom to raise capital for the country's sovereign wealth fund, which would then be used to finance mega projects across Saudi Arabia as part of the crown prince's Vision 2030.