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18 May, 2017 14:53

US to sign major oil deals with Saudi Arabia during Trump visit

US to sign major oil deals with Saudi Arabia during Trump visit

Oil major Saudi Aramco is expected to sign contracts with a dozen US firms during President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Reuters reports, quoting sources familiar with the matter.

According to the news agency, US companies Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, and Weatherford will help Saudi Arabia to develop local production.

The Saudis will also sign deals with General Electric and drilling companies National Oilwell Varco, Nabors Industries and Rowan Companies and others, Reuters’ sources said.

"These new partnerships will boost bilateral investment toward localization," said one of the sources.

US firms and Aramco have a long history of cooperation including consultancy and project management services.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia started its In-Kingdom Total Value Add program (IKTVA) aiming to double the percentage of locally-produced energy-related goods and services to 70 percent by 2021.

IKTVA seeks to create 500,000 direct and indirect jobs for the kingdom and is an essential part of its Vision 2030 aimed at diversifying from oil exports.

In November 2016, then-President-elect Donald Trump warned he could halt imports from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries over the war in Syria. Before assuming office, he also claimed Saudi Arabia “blew up the World Trade Center” and said the kingdom “wouldn’t exist” without US assistance. However, Saudi Arabia will be the first country he visits during his first overseas trip as President.