Saudi Arabia’s Zamil Group has created a joint venture with the UK’s Petrofac to create and operate a service centre in Al-Khobar. It is set to open in early 2010.

Each contractor will hold a 50 per cent stake in the venture and invest an initial SR2m ($530,000) each in the service centre.

Further investment in plant and equipment may be required, and will be supplied equally by Zamil and Petrofac.

Petrofac says the service centre will overhaul, maintain and repair process equipment, as well as manufacture spare parts, assemble third party equipment and provide field service support.

On 18 November, France’s Technip created a 50:50 joint venture with Saudi Consulting Company (SaudConsult) to bid for work in the kingdom (MEED 18:11:09).

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