Aramco Said to Shortlist Companies for Project Managementby
JV would manage building of non-oil projects in Saudi Arabia
Firms shortlisted include; SNC-Lavalin, Atkin, Dar Al Handasah
Saudi Arabian Oil Co. has shortlisted four companies as it seeks to create a new entity to manage non-oil projects assigned by the government, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Aramco, as the oil giant is known, has listed Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., Pasadena’s Jacobs Engineering Group, Atkins Faithful & Gould and Dar Al-Handasah Consultants Ltd., two of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
The government plans to transform Aramco from an oil and gas company into an industrial conglomerate as part of efforts to prepare the kingdom’s economy for the post-oil era, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg in March. The plan also includes selling a stake in the company and transforming its ownership to the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund.
Aramco plans to set up the project management joint venture in early 2017, two people said. It would take on projects assigned by the government and cooperate with other state bodies on infrastructure work, one person said.
“Saudi Aramco does not comment on rumor or speculation on business initiatives,” a company spokesman said in an e-mailed response to questions. Jacobs Engineering and Atkins Faithful & Gould declined to comment. Calls and e-mails to SNC-Lavalin and Dar Al-Handasah weren’t answered.
Aramco has managed the building of King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, which includes a 60,000-seat stadium and other facilities, at the request of the government. The company has also managed the development of the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, known as KAUST, on the Red Sea.
The project management company is expected to employ around 6,000 people over a decade, two of the people said. At least 50 percent of them must be Saudi nationals.
Hit by the slump in oil revenues, Saudi Arabia plans to slash capital spending this year by 71 percent as the world’s biggest exporter of crude seeks to plug the largest budget shortfall among the world’s 20 biggest economies. The kingdom is also weighing proposals to cancel more than $20 billion of projects, according to people familiar with the plans.