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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - DHAHRAN: Saudi Arabian Oil Co. signed deals valued at around $7.2 billion at the seventh edition of the In-Kingdom Total Value Add Forum in Dhahran on Monday.
During the forum, the company also launched Aramco Digital Co. to accelerate its digital transformation efforts.
“I am proud to announce a major new initiative in digital transformation with the launch of the Aramco Digital Company today. We are planning to invest $1.9 billion over the next three years, making it the biggest Aramco investment in digital to date, while adding value to the Kingdom’s digital ecosystem,” Saudi Aramco’s president and CEO Amin Nasser said.
Saudi Arabia will be a land of opportunities for investors but “truly a Kingdom of opportunities for all,” he stressed.
Commenting on the launch of the company, Ahmad A. Al-Sa’adi, Aramco executive vice president of technical services, said: “The launch of Aramco Digital Company is a great example of innovation in action, providing state-of-the-art AI and emerging technology expertise in a vital sector of the economy.”
The energy giant inked over 100 agreements and memorandums of understanding on the first day of the event, which runs until Feb. 2 and is held under the theme “Accelerating Future Success.”
During the event, Aramco signed a strategic partnership agreement with Zoom, as well as struck a deal with Taulia Inc. to implement supplier financing solutions.
The company also entered into a definitive agreement with DHL to form a joint venture and offer procurement and supply chain services and partnered with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment to develop and promote investment opportunities.
Another agreement signed by Aramco during the event was with Accenture to accelerate system integration and digital solution services.
It also reached a deal with Achilles to develop and localize environmental, social, and governance rating services.
The Aramco chief told the audience that the iktva program achieved 63 percent local content in 2022, up from 35 percent in 2015 when it was initially launched. Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman later said he hoped that the local content would reach 85 percent by 2030.
“Nothing would be possible without the outstanding commitment of our suppliers to localization in the first seven years of iktva. It has made Aramco’s businesses more cost-efficient, more resilient, and even more reliable while sharing the rewards we promised,” Nasser told the crowd.
“My generation can be proud of passing on a world-leading, integrated energy business, as well as pioneering work on decarbonization and putting Aramco at the heart of lower carbon businesses, such as blue hydrogen, renewables, and more sustainable materials,” he said.
The forum highlights collective localization efforts in key focus areas including digital space, sustainability, industrial, and manufacturing sectors.
“The local supplier ecosystem is a top priority for Aramco as well as a major contributor to the Kingdom’s economy. Through this mega program we are helping to create a culture of innovation and provide high-quality jobs for our growing population,” added Al-Sa’adi.
The iktva program encourages the establishment of international companies’ regional headquarters in the Kingdom. Since its inception, more than 150 investments have been made within the Kingdom, including products manufactured for the very first time in Saudi Arabia. The company has also established 16 national training centers in 10 Saudi cities, covering more than 60 trades. To date, more than 48,000 Saudi nationals have graduated from these centers, Al-Sa’adi said.
A presentation was also made on the first day of the event highlighting the role of Saudi women and their achievements in their respective fields.
Following the presentation, Prince Abdulaziz joked that the dozen or so exceptional women shown in the video will soon be taken from Aramco and employed by the ministry in Riyadh.
“The young ladies that you saw, I'm sure by next year you will find them in Riyadh working in the ministry,” the energy minister told the audience that burst into laughter.
“The vital role of the Ministry of Energy is to act as an enabler and the driver of the localization program. We are in constant contact with all other elements of the ecosystem and stand by or stand ready with other government entities to support, encourage and incentivize them to redouble their efforts,” Prince Abdulaziz said.
The first day of the event attracted more than 10,000 visitors and over 290 companies took part in the exhibition space.
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