Saudi Aramco and US-based NOV (National Oilwell Varco) have launched Arabian Rig Manufacturing, a joint venture, to manufacture drilling rigs and related equipment for the first time in the Kingdom, Arab News reported.

The new facility, located at Ras Al-Khair, is expected to reduce dependence on imported products, the newspaper said, quoting Saudi-based financial news portal Argaam.

The new joint venture is a part of Saudi Aramco’s ongoing efforts to localise rig manufacturing.

Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser said that the new facility in Ras Al-Khair is expected to manufacture at least 10 drilling rigs annually, the newspaper said.

In January 2018, NOV had announced that it has signed a JV agreement with Saudi Aramco to set up a facility to provide high-specification land rigs, rig and drilling equipment and aftermarket services in the Kingdom. The press statement had noted that the JV, owned 70 percent by NOV, will be supported by a commitment from the previously announced Saudi Aramco Nabors Drilling Company to purchase 50 onshore drilling rigs from the JV over a 10-year period.