KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia May 12 Oil giant Saudi
Aramco is close to selecting a partner for a joint
venture it plans to set up to oversee government-related
infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia, sources familiar with
the matter said.
U.S.-based Jacobs Engineering is believed to be the
frontrunner to be partner in the JV, while the Saudi sovereign
wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is also expected
to be involved, the sources told Reuters. They did not wish to
be identified because the information is not yet public.
Aramco, which is preparing for what is expected to be the
biggest IPO in corporate history, is involved in projects across
sectors not just oil, and the new company will provide project
management services on infrastructure and non-oil related
projects, according to the sources.
Saudi Aramco, Jacobs and the PIF all declined to comment.
An announcement on the joint venture is due to be made on
May 20, one of the sources said, which would coincide with U.S.
President Donald Trump's planned visit to Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi government, whose revenues have been hit by low
oil prices, has been seeking to cut costs on state
infrastructure projects. In February it appointed U.S.-based
Bechtel Corp to set up and run a new National Project Management
Organization (NPMO), known in Arabic as Mashroat, tasked with
reducing inefficiencies on such projects.
Saudi Aramco's non-oil projects have included building the
Al-Jawhara football stadium in Jeddah, managing floodwater
drainage projects in Jeddah and it is currently building an
economic city in Jizan in southern Saudi Arabia.
(Reporting by Reem Shamseddine; Editing by Susan Fenton)