Participants take their seats in the auditorium on the opening day of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia signed more than 25 deals ranging from petrochemicals to metals at its signature investment forum on Tuesday.

State-run Saudi Aramco signed 15 of the agreements worth $34 billion, including deals with French oil giant Total SA, oil-services provider Halliburton Co. and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Commodities trading house Trafigura Group and an affiliate of Riyadh-based Modern Industrial Investment Holding Group announced a joint venture to develop a smelter and refining complex, according to an emailed statement.

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Some of the deals, totalling about $50 billion, had been announced previously, while others were for new ventures or marked progressive steps on existing agreements.

The deals were signed on stage at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.

Most of the agreements were memorandums of understanding.

Earlier Report

The three-day conference, Future Investment Initiative, began amid tight security at Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton hotel, with Russian Direct Investment Fund chief Kirill Dmitriyev and French Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne among the confirmed speakers listed by organisers for the opening day.

Dignitaries attend a session at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. Dubai Media Office

4:00 pm

Saudi Arabia to invest about $5 billion in the Arctic LNG-2 project, Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of Russian sovereign wealth fund RDIF, told Rossiya 24 on Tuesday.

The Arctic LNG-2 liquefied natural gas project is led by Russian energy company Novatek.

Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser is negotiating with Russia's Novatek to invest in a large liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, he was reported as saying by Al Arabiya TV on Tuesday.

2.15pm: 

Oil giant Saudi Aramco will sign 15 deals worth more than $30 billion, said Saudi state-owned TV Ekhbariya. 

Saudi Arabia plans to sign deals worth more than $50 billion in the oil, gas, industries and infrastructure sectors at an investment conference in Riyadh on Tuesday, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier.

1:15 pm

French oil and gas producer Total is set to announce a retail network in Saudi Arabia with Saudi Aramco, Total's chief executive said on Tuesday.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih joined Total SA CEO Patrick Pouyanne and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.'s CEO Sultan Al Jaber for an energy panel.

Khalid Al Falih said at an investment conference in Riyadh that the oil market was in a "good place."

Answering a question on oil investments, Khalid Al Falih said  “We are seeing significant flows returning, and not only in US shale, we’re also seeing offshore and onshore mega projects coming back. Producers must work together against volatility.” 

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih said the kingdom hopes OPEC and other oil producers will sign a deal in December to extend cooperation to monitor and stabilise the oil market.

12:00 pm

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan speaking at the Future Investment Initiative forum said on Tuesday that the country was looking for loans to overcome its debts.

Pakistan is in need of two oil refineries to meet demands according to Khan, saying that the sectors most attractive to investors are mining, gas, and tourism.

"We have been in power for 60 days, we have inherited two deficits. We need to increase our exports and get more remittances through banking channels - there are 8-9 million Pakistanis living abroad."

Adding “There is a vast amount of mineral wealth in Pakistan. We have some of the largest gold reserves in the world, as well as reserves of copper and zinc. Tourism is also a vital sector and has flourished in recent years.”

Khan said he was hoping for loans from "friendly countries" and the International Monetary Fund.

“We need to increase foreign reserves with remittances from the 8–9 million Pakistanis working abroad, we need to give incentives to exporters, and we need to create opportunities for investment.”

Prime Minister confirmed that there will be an increasing cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and that  Saudi Crown Prince is organizing with Saudi businessmen to invest in Pakistan.

11.00 am

The heads of Saudi Arabia's wealth fund and the Russian Direct Investment Fund kicked off the  investment summit.

Public Investment Fund (PIF), Managing Director Yasir Al-Rumayyan opened the three-day conference in Riyadh, alongside billionaire businesswoman Lubna Olayan, Kirill Dmitriev and Mubadala Investment Co. Chief Executive Officer Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

Opening Remarks came from Yasir Al Rumayyan, saying  “Leaders are all here with a single purpose – to design, together, the future of collaboration.”

Adding "The Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, has invested in 50 or 60 companies via SoftBank Group's Vision Fund and will bring most of those firms to the kingdom."

Al Rumayyan said "The state fund has agreed to invest $45 billion in the giant tech fund led by SoftBank and the pair are also working with other parties on a number of large-scale, multi-billion dollar projects relating to the solar industry."

The PIF has almost 10 percent of its assets held internationally and has a target to raise that to 50 percent by 2030, Rumayyan told the conference.

"In 2030 we would like to be 50 percent international and 50 percent domestic," 

Al Rumayyan also added that electric vehicles were gaining market share and PIF wanted to localise the industry in Saudi Arabia.

Olayan, chief executive officer of Olayan Financing Co., said in her address "We are very grateful that the terrible acts reported in recent weeks are alien to our culture and our DNA," 

Adding "I am confident that with the support of the government, concerned authorities and leadership, the truth will emerge." 

Dmitriev said Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification drive was “important for the world” and that Russian companies, mainly oil and petrochemical firms, want to enter the Saudi market.

“Saudi Arabia is a great partner for us, not just a partner in investments or oil ... we believe modernisation and transformation in Saudi Arabia is truly historic.”

10:30 am

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has just arrived at the summit.

Conference kicks off in Riyadh with 4,000 participants and over 100 speakers from global leaders, investors and innovators. More than 40 sessions will be held over the three days.

 

Here's a link to the live stream: