Russian banks and a joint Russia-China investment fund are keen to invest in Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO), the head of a sovereign Russian investment fund has told the media in Riyadh.

Several banks and other groups in Russia are eager to buy a slice of Aramco, when the world’s largest company lists 5 per cent of its shares in the second half of this year, Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has said.

Dmitriev also said that Chinese investors are part of a joint Russian and Chinese investment fund that has expressed considerable interest in participating in the Aramco IPO.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos last month Dmitriev said that Russian pension funds were considering investing in the Saudi Aramco share sale.

The development comes as cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Russia on energy matters grows, despite their geopolitical differences. The two oil producers were instrumental in orchestrating an international pact among oil producers first in November 2016, and then its renewal on November 30 last year to last until 2018-end.

Saudi Arabia has also been reported to be seeking to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia’s new Arctic gas project, the inauguration of which Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih attended in December last year.

Dmitriev has told reporters today that Riyadh and Moscow plan to seal a key LNG deal, among a number of other prospective agreements, aimed at boosting collaboration in the energy sector between the two countries.

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