Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company, Saudi Aramco, has appointed a new CEO for its half-a-billion-dollar investment and venture capital spinoff Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV).
Bloomberg reports learning of the news, which had not yet been made public, from a source that requested to remain unidentified. A former head of Aramco’s lubricant and base oils division, Mahdi Aladel, will now head the investment arm. This appears to be confirmed by a LinkedIn profile that suggests Aladel took up the position in early August.
The purpose of SEAV is to invest in emerging technologies that may have applications in the Saudi Arabian market, such as for the chemical, renewables and oil and gas sectors, as well as the high-tech “Industry 4.0” field. Concerning this, the SAEV website says:
“We seek to invest into enabling technologies that can have material impact in Saudi Aramco’s operations, particularly in the field of ‘Industry 4.0’ where there is much innovation. This includes IoT, robotics, mobility, cloud services, blockchain-enabled services, AR/VR, advanced manufacturing, etc.”
The aim of this investment is to secure access to future technologies that may benefit the operations of parent company Saudi Aramco. SAEV has been run in previous years by Majid Mufti, who said in January that he has backed some 45 ventures, mostly in Europe and the US, since 2012.
Some suggest that Aramco is aiming to be more like fellow oil majors Shell and ExxonMobil, which have managed to avoid huge losses during the pandemic thanks to profitable trading departments.