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IPO puts Saudi Aramco under Asian oil buyers' spotlight

Exporter will need to carefully balance expectations of investors and customers

| Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan
Saudi Arabia may deny any connection between the Aramco listing and its decisions at the helm of OPEC.   © Reuters

The launch this month of the initial public offering of state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco -- the world's most profitable business -- has focused the attention of not only the global investment community but also its crude-oil customers.

Nowhere is that scrutiny higher than in Asia, which absorbs more than two-thirds of Aramco's crude exports. Asia's top four oil-consuming countries -- China, India, Japan and South Korea -- are heavily reliant on supplies from Aramco, which has a monopoly on crude production in the kingdom.

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