by Wael Mahdi and David Wethe
Saudi Aramco plans to sign agreements with at least 10 companies including General Electric Co. and oil field-service businesses Schlumberger Ltd. and Halliburton Co. when President Donald Trump visits Saudi Arabia, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The world’s biggest crude oil exporter plans to sign accords also with Baker Hughes Inc., KBR Inc., Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., Nabors Industries Ltd., Weatherford International Plc, McDermott International Inc. and Rowan Companies Plc, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to media. The deals will be signed on May 20 during Trump’s first foreign trip as president.
Media officials at Aramco, Baker Hughes, McDermott, Halliburton and Jacobs declined to comment. GE, Schlumberger, Weatherford, Nabors, Rowan and KBR didn’t immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment.
The kingdom aims to sell “not far from 5 percent” of Aramco next year, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said, in what could be the world’s biggest initial public offering. The IPO of the company known formally as Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is the centerpiece of plans to diversify the economy and wean it from depending overwhelmingly on the sale of crude oil. The prince, a champion of the new strategy, is also prioritizing the creation of jobs for Saudis.
The Saudi government is preparing as well to commit to unprecedented investments in the U.S. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund is set to announce plans to deploy as much as $40 billion into U.S. infrastructure, according to people familiar with the matter. It may be announced during Trump’s visit, said the people, asking not to be identified as the information is private.
Aramco’s agreements would help the company reach its goal of sourcing 70 percent of its oil and gas equipment and services from the local Saudi market by 2021, the two people familiar with the mater said. Under terms of the agreements, the foreign companies would open more manufacturing plants in the kingdom and help train the Saudi workforce.
Aramco plans to sign an additional agreement with Jacobs Engineering to form a joint venture for project management, the two people said.