Russia, Saudi Arabia to sign 14 new deals worth $3 bln: RDIF CEO

Russia will sign 14 new agreements with Saudi Arabian companies valued at over $3 billion at this week’s Saudi-Russian Forum during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Riyadh, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Chief Executive Officer Kirill Dimitriev told Al Arabiya.

The deals will cover various fields, including space programs, logistics, and artificial intelligence.

“We believe this visit will really expedite … the number of ongoing projects that will be executed,” Dimitriev told Al Arabiya in an interview while in Moscow last week.

Dimitriev said that a Russian company, which manufactures components for the oil industry, would make joint investments with Saudi Aramco and create products for Russian firms, Aramco, and many other companies in the world.

“We are also finalizing investments in the one of the largest logistical players in Russia … we are looking to invest in an … aircraft leasing portfolio and definitely major agreements in agriculture,” said Dimitriev.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia reduced its restrictions of Russian wheat imports. Dimitriev complemented Saudi Arabia’s decision and said there were major agricultural opportunities between the two countries.

Dimitriev spoke about agreements between the two countries in the energy and petrochemicals space.

Saudi Arabia’s largest petrochemicals company SABIC and Russia are looking into several “very important” petrochemical projects, he said, adding that a combination of the Saudi company’s “know-how” and Russia’s abundant natural gas reserves, and a plan to supply Asian markets, is a “winning combination.”

“We believe that in the nearest future we will finalize a number of petrochemical transactions,” he said.

Earlier in an interview with Al Arabiya, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia’s largest petrochemical company, Sibur, was “exploring the possibility of building a facility” in Saudi Arabia with investments of more than $1 billion.

Russia and Saudi Arabia have so far funded and approved bilateral projects worth $2.5 billion across several sectors, including artificial intelligence, infrastructure, transport, and medicine.

In an energy conference in Moscow two weeks ago, TMK, Russia's largest maker of steel pipes for the oil and gas industry, also said it was prepared to be an investor in Saudi Arabia.

The agreements come amid a backdrop of rising trade tensions in global markets. A prolonged trade war between the US and China has cast a shadow on the demand for billions of dollars’ worth of goods around the world.

Ties between Russia and Saudi Arabia have improved over the years. Both the countries have been co-operating to cap oil output to protect global crude prices.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund Chairman, Yasir al-Rumayyan, said on Monday that the Kingdom is the biggest foreign investor in Russia, with investments valued at $2.5 billion.

This is Putin’s first visit to Saudi Arabia since 2007, according to Russian media.

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Last Update: 11:51 KSA 14:51 - GMT 11:51
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