October 24, 2018 / 9:30 AM / 6 months ago

Saipem says Saudi Arabia remains a 'very, very important' market

MILAN, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Italian oil services company Saipem is committed to Saudi Arabia and plans to take part in a series of tenders in the country, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

On a conference call for third-quarter results, Stefano Cao said state energy company Saudi Aramco remained his group’s biggest client and the country continued to be a major pillar in its strategy.

“The sheer size of investments by Saudi Aramco are the long-term basis for our engagement and commitment,” Cao said.

Saudi Arabia plans to sign deals worth more than $50 billion in the oil, gas, infrastructure and industries sectors, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

But U.S. and European reaction to Saudi Arabia’s account of the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi is stifling some of the enthusiasm for business opportunities in the kingdom.

Saipem, which has a framework agreement with Saudi Aramco to 2021, has a fabrication yard in Saudi Arabia that it says gives it advantages for local work.

In July it was awarded a procurement and construction contract in the country for the development of the Haradh gas plant in the east of the country.

“Saudi Arabia is very, very important and there are many more projects we’ll be participating in,” Cao said. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Mark Potter)

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