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    Al-Falih: Italy to be Saudi Arabia’s long-term energy and sustainability partner


    Sep 5, 2023

    Saudi Gazette report

    MILAN — Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih said on Monday that Italy will be a long-term partner of Saudi Arabia in the energy and sustainability sectors. He said that the Kingdom is developing one of the largest global hydrogen projects in the city of NEOM.

    Al-Falih made the remarks while addressing the Saudi-Italian Investment Forum, which kicked off in Milan, Italy on Monday. A large number of business leaders, investors and government officials from Italy and Saudi Arabia are taking part in the forum.

    Al-Falih said that Saudi Arabia and Italy will sign several agreements for cooperation in various fields. The minister also invited Italian companies to make investments in the Kingdom. Al-Falih also pointed out that the two countries will partner in green technologies. The minister said that the Kingdom is launching investment in major raw materials and plans to strengthen cooperation and joint work with Italy in this field.

    The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday to enhance economic relations and investments of strategic importance between the two countries. The MoU, which lasts for two years, and is automatically renewed for another 24 months unless one of the two parties notifies the other of its intention to refuse the renewal, six months before its expiry. The agreement aims to initially focus on development projects in the energy sector.

    Since taking office in October 2022, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has sought to establish closer relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. Under Meloni, Italy sees itself playing an increasing role in linking the European Union (EU) to energy suppliers in the Middle East and North Africa, as the European Union reduces its supplies from Russia.

    At the Milan event, the Italian energy company Eni and Saudi ACWA Power agreed to develop a green hydrogen project in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, Italy is seeking to attract sovereign wealth funds in the Gulf to invest in a new fund to provide resources to companies operating in sectors of strategic importance and enhance the procurement and reuse of vital raw materials.

    Italian Industry Minister Adolfo Urso said at the event that Rome could appoint special commissioners to take all necessary measures to help implement foreign investment programs in Italy worth at least one billion euros ($1.1 billion).

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