Joint ventures between Saudi Arabia and UK on industrialisation and oil resource development

FCO 8/2336 1974 Jan 01 - 1974 Dec 31

This file concerns plans for strengthening Britain’s economic relations with Saudi Arabia through industrial development projects. It contains correspondence relating to:

  • The visit of a British industrial mission to Saudi Arabia
  • An aide memoire on industrial cooperation with Britain which is signed by Prince Saud Bin Faisal Al Saud and S Baker of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
  • The preparation of a Memorandum of Understanding on economic cooperation
  • Britain’s stated commitment to a lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and UN Security Council Resolution 242
  • Oil and other economic agreements concluded by France, Germany, and the US in the Middle East
  • Proposed British industrial ventures in Saudi Arabia, including a proposal by Burmah Oil Company to construct oil refineries, opportunities for rural electrification projects involving the General Electric Company (GEC), and a proposal by Rio Tinto Zinc Corporation (RTZ) to construct an aluminium plant
  • Prince Saud’s suggestion of a Saudi loan to British companies to help them finance industrialisation projects
  • A deal concluded by Shell to construct a refinery in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province
  • The commissioning, by General Petroleum and Mineral Organisation (Petromin), of a feasibility study for industrial development by Davy Power Gas Limited
  • The visit to the UK by the Saudi Minister of Petroleum Sheikh Ahmad Zaki Yamani and his meeting with Foreign Secretary James Callaghan to discuss oil supplies and industrial development
  • A possible deal to produce high speed patrol boats for the Saudi Navy and Coast Guard
  • The possibility of British firms, including the British Steel Corporation (BSC), extracting and processing Saudi Arabia’s copper and iron ore deposits
  • Press coverage on deals concluded between Saudi Arabia and foreign companies
  • The proposed European Economic Community (EEC) policy dictating mandatory consultation with the EEC on co-operation agreements between member states and third countries, which may lead to interference in Britain’s deals with oil-producing Middle Eastern states
  • A meeting and report by (DTI)’s Middle East Steering Group on prospects for and progress in economic cooperation with oil-producing countries
  • Talks on Qatar taking a financial stake in Weir Westgarth Limited and an industrial mission to Qatar
  • A document from the Saudi Central Planning Organisation stating that it is in the Kingdom’s interest to distribute projects among all friendly countries
  • The challenges in actualising industrialisation projects, such as supply of labour, housing and materials