Saudi Aramco signs $50 bln worth of U.S. deals in diversification push

Saudi Aramco signs $50 bln worth of U.S. deals in diversification push

May 21, 2017
3 min read
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Saudi Arabia’s state energy giant Saudi Aramco and U.S. signed business deals worth $50 billion on Saturday during a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump, as Riyadh seeks to develop its economy beyond oil.

“The agreements signed today by Saudi Aramco with major American companies underscore the purposeful collaboration between Saudi Arabia and the United States in areas of strategic importance linking Saudi Vision 2030 and America’s own economic depth and strength,” Saudi Aramco president and chief executive officer Amin H. Nasser said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is spearheading an ambitious plan - Saudi Vision 2030, which is meant to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil dependence.

Low oil prices in the past couple of years have slowed the economy and buried the government under a large budget deficit.

Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih at a conference with a U.S. delegate in Riyadh said deals involving all companies totalled over $200 billion, many of them designed to produce things in Saudi Arabia that had previously been imported, according to Reuters.

Among the deals signed on Saturday, GE said it reached $15 billion of agreements involving almost $7 billion of goods and services from GE itself. Saudi Aramco signed a deal for a GE-led digital transformation of Aramco’s operations.

Jacobs Engineering will form a joint venture with Aramco to manage business projects in the kingdom, and McDermott International will transfer some of its ship fabrication facilities from Dubai to a new shipbuilding complex, which Aramco will build within Saudi Arabia.

Aramco also signed a joint-venture deal with National Oilwell Varco for drilling rigs and advanced drilling equipment and it updated its agreement with Rowan for the creation of the offshore drilling company in the kingdom, which will begin operations in the second quarter of this year.

The national oil firm also agreed with Honeywell to extend cooperation for digitalisation of the oil and gas industry and to explore the potential for new engineering capabilities and systems at several Saudi industrial centres to support increased investments and economic diversification.

The Honeywell agreement will allow Saudi Aramco to enhance operational performance across its network of facilities while presenting significant opportunities for Honeywell to advance the adoption of the latest software industrial solutions.

Additionally, Aramco signed MOUs for localising oil field goods and services with Schlumberger, Halliburton, Weatherford, Baker Hughes and Emerson.