State oil giant Saudi Aramco and France’s Total are considering the acquisition of retail fuel businesses like Tas’helat Marketing Company togain access to a network of stations, according toreports.
Bloomberg cited sources as confirming the two companies’ plans to enter the petrol station market either via buyout deals or by starting a new business.
France’s Credit Agricole and local investment bank Saudi Fransi Capital are advising the two companies on the plans, which are at the early stages, according to the news service.
The sources indicated no final decisions had been made regarding the acquisition of Tas’helat, which operates stations under the Sahel brand, or other businesses.
Reuters separately reported a deal worth SAR2bn-3bn ($533m-$800m) was being discussed by the two firms.
Representatives from Aramco and Total declined to comment.
The plans are part of a preliminary agreement signed earlier this month alongside another $9bn deal for potential expansion of a refinery and petrochemical complex in Jubail during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to France.
Should Aramco and Total press ahead with the venture they will compete with a series of new entrants to the kingdom’s retail fuel station market.
Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC Distribution said earlier this week it had been awarded a licence to own, operate and manage fuel stations in the kingdom having previously said it would open one location there this year.
Oman Oil Marketing Company has also announced plans for a series of ‘mega’ service stations in Saudi Arabia with the first to open outside Dammam in the fourth quarter.
Other firms with Saudi retail stations include Dubai’s Emirates National Oil Co.