Lojien Ben Gassem
RIYADH: On the eve of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s arrival in Muscat, Saudi Arabia and Oman signed 13 memoranda of understanding, reportedly worth more than $10 billion and covering a number of sectors.
The agreements were signed by Omani companies fully-owned by the sultanate’s Investment Authority, Omani state TV reported on Monday.
OQ Group, a global energy provider based in Oman, signed three of the agreements, the first of which was with ACWA Power and Air Products in the fields of petrochemicals, renewable energy and green hydrogen. The second, relating to oil storage, was signed with Saudi Aramco, and the third, involving development of Oman’s Duqm Petrochemical Complex project, with SABIC.
Omran Group signed a memorandum with the Saudi Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company for the development of the Yetti Beach in Oman. Omran is described as creating sustainable and authentic tourism assets, lifestyle communities and destinations designed to drive economic growth and contribute to the diversification of the economy.
Another memorandum was signed by Fisheries Development Oman and Saudi Arabia’s National Aquaculture Group, or Naqwa, to boost cooperation in fisheries.
The Saudi Tadawul Group and the Muscat Securities Market signed a memorandum for cooperation with the operation of the stock exchange and the dual listing of companies.
Oman-based Asyad, a logistics group, signed an agreement with Saudi Bahri, a transportation and logistics company, while Minerals Development Oman signed a deal with the Kingdom’s Maaden Phosphate Co. to boost cooperation in the mining sector.
Badr Al-Badr, the CEO of the National Companies Entrepreneurship Program in Saudi Arabia, said that the total investment value of the memoranda of understanding is expected to exceed $10 billion, the Oman News Agency reported.
Crown Prince Mohammed arrived in Oman on Monday on the first of several stops on an official tour of Gulf states. The visit is expected to build on talks Omani Sultan Haitham bin Tariq held with King Salman during his visit to Saudi Arabia in July.
The crown prince’s visit is “based on directives from King Salman, his keenness to communicate with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and to strengthen ties,” the Royal Court said in a statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency.
The prince will meet the sultan and they will review issues of mutual concern, with the aim of achieving progress and prosperity for both countries and their peoples, the Oman News Agency reported.
The visit to Oman is an “affirmation of the ties of fraternity and kinship, and the historical relations binding the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the ONA report said, adding that both countries “are set for a new stage of economic and investment cooperation in all fields.”
In July, both countries reaffirmed plans for joint investment in advanced technologies, innovation, renewable-energy projects, industrial health, real estate, tourism, petrochemical-converting industries, supply chains, logistics partnerships, information technology and financial technology, according to ONA.
“The achievements made over the past five months and the active exchange of visits among officials reflect the keen desire of the two countries to work together,” the agency said, adding that this includes the establishment of the Saudi-Omani Investment Forum, which was held in Muscat in August, during which a number of agreements were signed.
A memorandum establishing a coordination council was signed by the two countries, along with a separate agreement to boost government and private-sector trade and investment, as well as cooperation, in environmental and food security.
According to a joint statement, the two sides also agreed to expedite the opening of their border crossings to ease the movement of people and goods to “integrate supply chains in order to achieve the desired economic integration.”
During his regional tour, the Saudi crown prince will also meet leaders and senior officials of the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait to discuss bilateral relations. His trip comes ahead of the GCC summit in Riyadh this month. He is expected to head to Abu Dhabi after Oman.