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Saudi Aramco-Hyundai in $5.2 bn shipyard deal

Saudi Aramco is to build the region’s biggest shipyard in a $5.2 billion joint venture with South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries and others, the partners said on Wednesday.

The yard, to be constructed on the kingdom’s Gulf coast, will have the capacity to produce four offshore rigs and 40 vessels, including three supertankers, a year, the state-owned oil giant said in a statement.

Lamprell, a United Arab Emirates-based provider of services to the energy industry, and Bahri, the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia, have also signed on to the venture.

“The integrated maritime yard will be the largest in the region in terms of production capacity and scale,” Saudi Aramco said.

Located in the new industrial port city of Ras al-Khair, the yard will also provide maintenance services for rigs and vessels.

“Major production operations are expected to commence in 2019,” with full capacity reached by 2022, Aramco said.

In a separate statement, Lamprell PLC said the yard will cost an estimated $5.2 billion to build, of which roughly $3.5 billion will come from the Saudi government.

The rest will be funded by the joint venture.

It said the deal was conditional on approval by its shareholders.

Saudi Arabia has launched a programme to diversify its industrial base after its revenues were badly hit by a 50 percent fall in world oil prices since 2014.

Around five percent of Saudi Aramco is to be floated on the stock market next year to help form the world’s largest state investment fund.

–AFP