KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia, (Reuters) – Saudi Aramco said on Friday it had signed two contracts with consortiums of Saudi and foreign firms to conduct engineering work in the world’s largest oil exporter.
New contracts, called long-term new general engineering services plus (GES+), aim to allow local companies to enter into joint ventures with international firms and provide detailed engineering, project management and technology services.
One consortium includes U.S.-based Foster Wheeler.
The five-year deals can be extended, the Saudi oil company said, adding that it expected to award further GES+ deals to other companies that participated in the bidding process.
Detailed preliminary engineering work for Aramco’s mega projects has so far been conducted by international firms outside of the world’s top oil exporter, sources had said.
The move is part of the state oil firm’s plans to develop the domestic engineering sector as well as create more jobs for Saudi nationals, who number almost 19 million.
Foreign companies had hoped the new partnerships with Saudi companies would increase their chances of winning deals with the state oil giant.
In 2001, Aramco signed several deals for general engineering services to encourage local firms to carry out basic engineering work in the kingdom and help create more jobs for Saudi nationals.
Sources had expected Aramco to award deals in July last year.