Saudi’s negotiating oil and gas deals worth $50 billion at Riyadh conference

International oil and gas majors attending this year’s Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh have been unfazed by the recent killing of a Saudi Arabian journalist, with Saudi companies negotiating oil, gas, metals and infrastructure deals worth US$50 billion at the event.

The opening of the conference, dubbed Davos in the desert, was overshadowed by the death of Saudi dissident and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, with a number of Western politicians and global business chiefs pulling out over the incident.

However, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman declared the conference as ‘great – more people more money’. Saudi Aramco signed 15 memoranda of understanding worth $34 billion, according to Reuters.

Trafigura, Total, Hyundai, Norinco, Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes are some of the firms from the oil and gas and infrastructure sectors that have agreed deals with Saudi Arabia.

Total’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanné revealed the French oil and gas giant would soon announce a retail network in the kingdom with Aramco, while the state-run energy firm’s chief executive Amin Nasser said the government remained committed to a partial flotation of the oil giant.

A public float of the company on an international exchange has been mooted since 2016, but Nasser said that that the timing of an IPO would depend on market conditions and other factors.