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Aramco mega deal boosts Saudi foreign investment to record in Q2

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Saudi Arabia booked its highest-ever quarterly foreign direct investment (FDI) in the second quarter, thanks to a large oil pipeline infrastructure deal that state oil giant Aramco closed in the period.

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Saudi Arabia, whose FDI numbers have trended at around $1 billion per quarter in the past three years, saw its Q2 2021 FDI figure at a staggering $13.8 billion, according to data from the Saudi central bank cited by Forbes.

The key driver for the record foreign investment was a $12.4 billion deal that involved Saudi Aramco.

Aramco reached an agreement in April with a consortium led by U.S. EIG Global Energy Partners to sell it a 49-percent stake in Aramco Oil Pipelines Company for $12.4 billion. Aramco Oil Pipelines Company is a new business entity, formed to keep—or trade—the rights to 25 years of payments of rates for crude transportation across Aramco’s pipeline network.

In June, the Saudi oil giant closed the deal  selling the 49-percent stake to the consortium, which consists of a broad cross-section of investors from North America, Asia, and the Middle East.

After the closing, Saudi Aramco continues to hold a 51-percent majority stake in Aramco Oil Pipelines Company and retains full ownership and operational control of its stabilized crude oil pipeline network.

“We plan to continue to explore opportunities to capitalize on our industry-leading capabilities and attract the right type of investment to Saudi Arabia,” Aramco’s president and CEO Amin Nasser said at the closing of the deal in June.

“I think this deal is the main driver of the pick-up in inward F.D.I. in Q2,” James Swanston, Middle East and North Africa economist at London-based Capital Economics, told Forbes, commenting on Saudi Arabia’s foreign direct investment. “As this was a deal that included selling more than 10% of the voting share then it is classified as inward F.D.I.”

Saudi Arabia is said to be preparing to open up a massive upstream asset to foreign investment, too.

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