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Saudi Aramco makes $10B handshake with U.S. firms

Deals extend beyond the oil and gas sector to include defense contractor Raytheon and a U.S. think tank.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Saudi Aramco makes $10B handshake with U.S. firms
Oil and gas services company Schlumberger among the handful of companies involved in a multi-billion dollar investment forum with Saudi Aramco. Photo courtesy of Saudi Aramco

March 28 (UPI) -- Oil and gas field services companies and a think tank in the United States were among those involved in $10 billion in deals, a Saudi oil company announced.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known commonly as Saudi Aramco, took part in a bilateral business forum in New York City with chief executive officers from U.S. companies.

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Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser said partnerships with U.S. companies reach back to at least 80 years ago when oil was first discovered in the kingdom. Looking ahead, the so-called Vision 2030 will take the U.S. relationship to the next phase.

"We are also looking at cooperation in infrastructure, manufacturing and services industries; all of which the United States is distinguished for, and critical to managing and operating as well as growing an enterprise of Saudi Aramco's scale," he said in a statement.

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Vision 2030 aims to boost Saudi Arabia's non-oil revenue and relies in part on raising money through the eventual public listing of shares in Saudi Aramco. Financial services company ING said the offering "is a bellwether for Saudi Arabia's push away from a heavy dependence on oil."

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Memoranda were signed in New York with drilling services companies Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Schlumberger. An agreement with defense contractor Raytheon extends into cybersecurity, while joint research projects are envisioned between Saudi Aramco and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Saudi Aramco deals follow a whirlwind of diplomatic activity between the United States and Saudi Arabia, which is engaged in a Yemeni conflict that pits it against Shiite rival Iran. Anthony Cordesman, a scholar at CSIS, wrote last week that Saudi Arabia is the "most important single security partner" for the United States in the Middle East.

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Crude oil prices in recent days have rallied in response to simmering tensions in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia said it was the target of rocket fire from Houthi militants in Yemen, who have support from Iran.

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