Saudi Arabian companies could negotiate investment deals worth some US$50 billion in oil, gas, metals, and infrastructure during and after the Future Investment Initiative that opened today in Riyadh, Reuters reports citing an unnamed source.
Of the total, US$30 billion will be deals signed by state energy giant Aramco, Reuters said in an update later in the day.
Despite several high-profile pullouts from the event following the disappearance of Saudi dissident and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, particularly from the banking industry, a lot of energy industry executives did attend the conference, including Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne as well as the CEOs of Baker Hughes and Schlumberger, Lorenzo Simonelli and Paal Kibsgaard, and senior representatives of other commodity players, including trading giant Trafigura.
Trafigura, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, and Schlumberger are among the companies expected to seal investment deals with Saudi Arabian businesses, although some of these have already been announced, such as the partnership of Total and Aramco on a multibillion-dollar petrochemical complex in Saudi Arabia.
Bloomberg, meanwhile, quoted its own sources, also unnamed, as saying there will also be deals with Chinese and South Korean companies. The report notes that most of these deals are either already announced ventures or further stages in already existing partnerships with just a few being brand new agreements. What’s more, Bloomberg’s Archana Narayanan and Javier Blas point out that some of the deals, to be signed officially during the three-day event, will only be preliminary agreements—memorandums of understanding—rather than anything binding.
Riyadh is under a lot of pressure amid the media frenzy over the now confirmed killing of Saudi dissident and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, and according to Bloomberg, the spectacular signing ceremonies will be part of efforts to salvage the event, which was initiated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—the object of much of Khashoggi’s criticism. The affair even caused sparks to fly between Riyadh and Washington with U.S. lawmakers insisting on a stern response to the killing and a Riyadh official promising a proportionate response, before things cooled off.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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