Saudi Consulting Company (SaudConsult) will continue operating its engineering joint venture with Canada’s SNC Lavalin and the US’ Jacobs Engineering, even though it has set up a second joint venture with France’s Technip.

The French firm is a major rival to SNC Lavalin and Jacobs.

Saudi contractors have historically forged a relationship with just one international contractor.

Overseas contractors have come under greater pressure to establish partnerships with local firms in 2009 because national oil company Saudi Aramco, has said it only wants to award major contracts on its megaprojects to joint ventures of international companies and local firms.

Aramco made the pledge in its latest spending plan for 2010 to 2014.

SaudConsult signed the deal to create the 50:50 joint venture with Technip on 18 November. The joint venture will bid for front-end engineering and design (Feed) work, and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) management contracts in the kingdom.

A source close to SaudConsult says it will also continue operating its consortium – called SSJ – with SNC Lavalin and Jacobs.

“SSJ will still bid for work for Aramco in the areas of project management services and also Feed work,” says the source.

Technip, Jacobs and SNC Lavalin plan to bid for lucrative five-year engineering deals with Aramco in January 2010.

The engineering services contracts cover feasibility studies, Feed work, project management support and contract management.