China 'offers to buy five percent of Saudi Aramco'
The companies are part of a state-run consortium including China's sovereign wealth fund, sources told Reuters on Monday, and the deal could effectively mean cancelling the IPO altogether.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said last year the kingdom was considering listing about five percent of Aramco in 2018 in a deal that could raise $100 billion for the country, if the company is valued at about $2 trillion as hoped.
PetroChina and Sinopec declined to comment.
But the IPO plan lacks widespread support, with some believing Riyadh is selling its prized Aramco to foreigners cheaply to counteract falling oil prices.
Disagreements between what some advisers recommend and what the crown prince wants have delayed decisions about the IPO, industry sources said.
Industry sources said the sale of a significant stake to Chinese firms was one of several options being considered.
Two senior industry sources told Reuters Riyadh was keen on its biggest buyer of oil - China - becoming a "cornerstone investor" in Aramco, but no decision has yet been taken on whether to accept Beijing's offer.
But allowing China to buy five percent would effectively mean cancelling the IPO altogether, which is unlikely to happen, one of the sources said.
Delaying the listing further would also be the least preferred option, given the crown prince's determination to go ahead with the sale.
Sovereign wealth funds from South Korea, Japan and Russia - which are also major buyers of Saudi oil - were also interested in acquiring a stake in Aramco, sources told Reuters.
A deal struck between Saudi Arabia and China could also include a reciprocal move by the Saudi company to invest in the Chinese refining industry, according to industry sources.