U.S. and Saudi firms signed over $50 billion in energy investment deals on Saturday, including a major agreement between Exxon Mobil and Saudi heavy industries.
The agreement between Exxon and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation will help build a $20 billion chemical complex that the Trump administration had touted earlier this year as a boon to job growth on the American Gulf Coast.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former head of the oil giant, is part of the delegation visiting Saudi Arabia this weekend with President Trump.
The Exxon initiative, called Growing the Gulf, aims to create over 35,000 construction jobs and 12,000 full-time jobs once completed. Exxon said the Gulf initiative will include 11 major chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas projects, which has been been made possible "by the abundance of low-cost U.S. natural gas" due to fracking.
The Saudis will help build one of initiative's 11 hubs, which will be focused on refining the natural gas byproduct ethane, which is in increasing demand for producing everything from polymers and plastics to agents that help fruit ripen. Exxon and SABIC selected San Patricio County, Texas, for the proposed petrochemical complex last month.
"This agreement represents an important step in the progression of the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project," said Philippe Ducom, president and CEO of Exxon Mobil Saudi Arabia. "We have a long and successful relationship with SABIC, which will be enhanced by this potential project that will create value for our companies and our communities."
"I can't imagine another business day that's been as good for the United States or for the kingdom," said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Riyadh.
In addition, Saudi Aramco, the desert kingdom's national oil firm with the largest reserves in the world, signed 16 deals with 11 U.S. firms values at roughly $50 billion.
One of the biggest deals was signed with General Electric, including investments in power plant development, oil and natural gas, mining and healthcare, according to Bloomberg.
The investments are in line with King Salman's landmark Saudi Vision 2030 plan that is meant to diversify the country's economy away from dependence on oil revenue. The plan was put into motion due to an oil supply glut that cut the price of oil in half over the last two years, and with it the Saudi economy.
The deals were announced during the Saudi-U.S. CEO Forum, which was focused on the king's economic diversification plan. The Saudi government said the deals announced Saturday are good for growing jobs in both countries.