Saudi Aramco, the world’s top oil exporter, is considering raising $2bn through sale of its debut sharia-compliant bonds as part of plans to tap the debt capital markets for $10bn.

Aramco, is contemplating the option of a riyal-denominated sukuk transaction as early as the second quarter, which could be privately placed with investors, according to news agency Bloomberg, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

The company, which has been the main revenue earner for Saudi Arabia, the region’s biggest economy and Opec’s top oil producer, is looking to raise funds by selling bonds ahead of its 2018 initial public offering, billed to be the biggest-ever in the world.

Aramco has hired local unit of UK’s HSBC, Riaydh-based Riyad Capital to help with the sale. Local NCB Capital and Alinma Investment are also working on the deal, which could be followed by dollar-denominated deals.

Aramco’s debt plans follows the Saudi government’s debut offering in October, which raised $17.5bn, a record-breaking emerging-market deal. The kingdom is also planning a benchmark-sized sukuk sale this year. A source familiar with the Situation told MEED the deal is not likely to hit the market before the second half of this year.

Aramco requires cash to fund its $334bn investment plans over the next decade to sustain oil and gas production, Abdulaziz al-Abdulkarim, vice president procurement and supply chain management at the state-controlled firm said in September last year. About 42 per cent of the total planned investments would be spent on drilling, with 31 per cent on surface facilities and 11 per cent on infrastructure.

“That’s $33bn annually that will be progressively spent into the Saudi economy,” Al-Abdulkarim had said at the time.

Aramco is responsible for investments, development and modernisation of the country’s oil and gas infrastructure and spends billions of dollars to maintain the oil and gas installations each year.

The company earlier this month has invited companies to bid on a the construction of an estimated $400m tank farm project in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, source familiar with the scheme Told MEED.

It has also appointed technical consultant for a petroleum coke-fired power plant at its Satorp refinery complex in Jubail Industrial City. Aramco has invited developers to submit request for information (RFI) by 4 April for the scheme, which could be developed on independent power producer model, MEED reported on 16 March.

The Satorp refinery produces up to 6,500 tonnes per day of petroleum coke, with a sulphur content of up to 10 per cent. The planned Petcoke Cogeneration Power Plant will use the petroleum coke for commercial power and steam generation purposes. The plant will have a power generation capacity of at least 900MW and steam capacity of at least 450 tonnes per hour.

Aramco is also branching out into other areas and aims to invest as much as $5bn in renewable projects as it looks to diversify away from oil.

UK’s HSBC, US-based JPMorgan and Swiss Credit Suisse are among the lenders invited by Aramco to send proposals for an advisory role, which includes identifying potential acquisition targets and advising on deals. Aramco could make the first investment into renewable sector as early as this year.