Strengthening U.S.-Saudi energy partnerships in a post-COVID world
CEO shines light on iktva, breadth of investment opportunity throughout the Kingdom.
In looking ahead to a post-COVID world, energy leaders from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia convened virtually in early December to share their vision for the energy economy and a changed world.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted the event to provide a platform to discuss commercial partnerships between the two countries — especially opportunities to do business with Aramco and further invest in the Kingdom.
Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser and senior vice president of Downstream, Mohammed Y. Al Qahtani, were featured speakers, along with other Aramco and Aramco Americas representatives. Rounding out the program, top executives from U.S. energy majors and government officials also presented their views on a post-COVID economy and energy outlook.
U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Honorable John Abizaid, participated in a virtual “fireside chat.” He talked about the unprecedented economic transformation that he is witnessing across the Kingdom — in energy and all sectors — a clear sign, he remarked, of the success so far of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
More than 700 invited guests linked into the forum, with representatives from companies — small, medium, and large — seeking business opportunities and wanting to know how to get involved.
‘Brighter days ahead’
Nasser acknowledged the challenge this year has been but that brighter days lie ahead.
I believe we can now see more light at the end of the tunnel. And this means we must think about — and prepare for — a post-COVID world. The positive side of this year is that it has made us even more agile and adaptable. These are the qualities of resilience that define us at Aramco and that we see in our American partners.
— Amin Nasser
Nasser provided an overview of the historic ties between the two countries, dating back to 1933 with the signing of a concession to explore for oil in the Kingdom and the eventual formation of Aramco. “We want to build on the deep-rooted ties between Aramco and America to grow and also explore new opportunities.”
“Right now,” Nasser said, “America’s businesses and service providers will find more opportunity in Saudi Arabia than at any other time in our history, on a scale that has never been seen before.”
Companies also have the opportunity to establish a presence in Saudi Arabia, through participation in the In-Kingdom Total Value Add (iktva) localization program.
Aramco’s investments in the Americas, include the wholly owned Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas; a majority stake in SABIC; the Aramco R&D centers in Houston, Boston, and Detroit; and the sponsored student programs at U.S. colleges and universities. Americans and Saudis are continuing to work side-by-side, he said, strengthening ties and promoting energy sustainability.
Al Qahtani served as a panelist to discuss the future of global energy markets, examining issues including the future global energy mix, climate change, and sustainability. He said industry experts predict that oil will continue to dominate the mix — because it is still the most affordable and accessible energy source, especially in developing countries.
Nabeel I. AlAfaleg, Aramco Americas president and CEO, commended the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its unwavering support “not only to U.S. commerce but to global commerce — and the special relationship, we at Aramco, enjoy with the Chamber.”
AlAfaleg highlighted the opportunities available for American businesses, saying that Aramco is sourcing a wide range of materials to support its oil and gas operations throughout the value chain, as well as its mega-projects.