As a part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to diversify its economy beyond oil, national oil giant Saudi Aramco has signed a memorandum of understanding to found a shipbuilding and repair complex in the kingdom, the company said on Tuesday.
With the current decrease in oil prices, Riyadh is coming up with plans to develop non-oil industries, using state spending to jump-start the process. The shipbuilding complex is one of the first huge projects to be announced under this policy.
The MoU was signed with National Shipping Co of Saudi Arabia (Bahri), a state-controlled firm which ships oil for Aramco, as well as a subsidiary of London-listed Lamprell Plc , a United Arab Emirates-based engineering firm, and South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd.
Over the next few months, the companies will look into a proposal to build a maritime complex offering engineering, manufacturing and repair services for offshore rigs, commercial vessels and offshore service vessels, Aramco said.
Chairman Khalid al-Falih said in a business conference on Monday that the project was expected to be located on Saudi Arabia’s east coast and could create 500,000 jobs in time. Yet, Aramco did not give a value for the project.
The complex will contribute initially to propping up Aramco’s operations but will ultimately move on to other markets, such as manufacturing container vessels, Falih added.