Saudi Aramco announced on Monday the launch of an investment arm to acquire tech companies that are of strategic importance to Saudi Arabia and facilitate their deployment in the kingdom.
The company said Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures plans to invest in start-up and high-growth ventures offering new technologies to the upstream and downstream oil and gas sectors, renewables, energy efficiency and water supply.
“As we continue to address long-term energy challenges, SAEV will help us more effectively engage with the global community of innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Khalid Al-Falih, chief executive of Aramco.
Further details about the funds available to its investment arm were not provided by the world’s largest oil producer.
SAEV disclosed individual investments were expected to range from $1 million to $30 million per company, depending on the stage of development, size of opportunity, strategic relevance to Saudi Aramco and capital intensity.
“Typically we reserve around 50% of investment in any one company for follow-on financing,” SAEV said on its website. “We seek minority equity ownership positions and in most cases seek board seats or board observer rights.”
Aramco has renewed focus on meeting its own gas requirements as oil production in Libya and Iraq ramped up, easing world fuel prices.
The Saudi oil giant wants to fuel its domestic industrial boom and could speed up the process by buying up North American specialist, a Reuters report said, noting that every major western oil company has either bought or teamed up with an independent North American unconventional gas pioneer over the last four years in order to quickly absorb years of knowledge gained by the smaller specialists and grab acreage in the world’s biggest gas market.