Wood backing efforts to diversify Saudi economy

Robin Watson, chief executive of Wood.
Robin Watson, chief executive of Wood.

Aberdeen company Wood said yesterday it was backing efforts to strengthen and diversify the economy of Saudi Arabia and remained committed to “creating and accelerating” employment opportunities in the kingdom.

The energy services giant revealed it had signed a “memorandum of understanding” (MoU) with Saudi Aramco in support of the state-owned oil firm’s In-Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTVA) initiative.

IKTVA is part of Suadia Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan to reduce the country’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism. It was launched last year by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Wood chief executive Robin Watson said: “Wood has been operating in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia for many years, with a clear commitment to developing local talent and creating opportunities for the state’s supply chain.

“We are proud to sign this agreement, which reflects our long-term commitment to the region and our valued and trusted relationship with Saudi Aramco, and provides a platform to accelerate our ongoing efforts to meet and exceed the objectives set within the IKTVA initiative.”

With annual revenue of more than £8.2billion, Wood employs about 55,000 people across operations in more than 60 countries.

Meanwhile, Mr Watson has just been announced as keynote speaker for the 2018 Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) annual lecture in the north-east.

He will address an audience of 300 invited guests at the event at the Mercure Ardoe House Hotel at Blairs, near Aberdeen, on Thursday January 18.

SCDI regional director Ian Armstrong said: “We are delighted Robin has agreed to deliver our 2018 lecture. The past few years have been a time of significant change and challenge for the oil and gas industry, and as a result the north-east economy has suffered.

“Given the recent creation of Wood through Wood Group’s acquisition of Amec Foster Wheeler (AFW), the timing could not be better to hear from their chief executive.

“His views on the opportunities this global company headquartered in Aberdeen creates for customers and employees, and what the future holds for Wood and the wider Scottish industry will be of significant interest to our members. I anticipate a full house.”

Mr Watson said he would be sharing insight into the “transformational” AFW deal, which had “significantly extended the portfolio of capabilities we offer”.