Aramco continued its support to the Kingdom through co-hosting the IRO – Aramco Forum, an investment forum which saw hundreds of delegates from various Dutch companies attend.

Indeed, this is the second time in recent years that Aramco has partnered the Association of Dutch Oil and Gas Suppliers (IRO), with a view to encouraging companies to localise in Saudi, and this year it was the turn of Talal Al-Marri to share the opening platform. "Working with an organisation [IRO] that has close to 50 years' experience and over 400 members, has enhanced Aramco's reach, when looking to work with the very best Dutch companies," Mr. Al-Marri said.

"Exposure to companies across the entire supply chain, from upstream through to renewables, allows us to build upon our traditional areas of strength, as well as new areas, in which some of you here are pioneers." Alongside the Aramco Overseas President was Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Guido Landheer, who was keen to endorse the IRO's willingness to facilitate conversations, which could lead to potential partnerships.

In order to appreciate the scale of Aramco and the Kingdom's investment push, the audience were first given an overview of the IKTVA (In-Kingdom Total Value Add) Program, in which Aramco will look to localise 70 per cent of its spend by 2021. This would also help to create some half a million jobs and enable 30 per cent of Saudi's energy sector products to be exported. Overall, the global business has a capital program worth over $400bn, with over half of this set aside for drilling operations.

Not only were the audience briefed on the potential of Saudi and its energy sector, they were also informed on challenges related to operating and deployment in the Kingdom, which included a case study from a contractor currently working out of the Eastern Province. Indeed, the IRO – Aramco Forum is yet another step in Aramco's commitment to help diversify the Kingdom's economy, with further events pencilled in to support this initiative later in the year.

For more on IKTVA, visit www.iktva.sa