The two firms signed memorandums of understanding with five Saudi industrial companies – Zamil Steel, Bahra Cables, Riyadh Cables, Saudi Pumps and Descon Olayan. EDF and Areva will develop the technical skills of these businesses with the intention of building an extended network of Saudi suppliers for future nuclear projects in the country.
A second series of agreements signed with four Saudi universities – King Saud University in Riyadh, Dar Al Hekma College and Effat University in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed bin Fahd University in Al-Khobar – are intended to contribute to the development of nuclear expertise in the country.
The deals were signed on the back of French President Francois Hollande's visit to Riyadh on December 30.
Areva president Luc Oursel said the agreements “demonstrate the common will of EDF and Areva to establish a true long-term partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They will enable the country to build a strong industrial base and a robust skills management programme.”
EDF chief executive Henri Proglio added that the deals underlined EDF and Areva’s commitment to enable Saudi Arabia “to successfully implement its national energy strategy and develop its future nuclear programme by contributing to the development of a local network of manufacturers and by training qualified engineers”.
Saudi Arabia plans to build 16 nuclear reactors over the next 20 years at a cost of more than $80bn, with the first intended to come on line in 2022.