Alphabet, the parent company of Google, plans to explore a new market. They’ve paired with energy giant Saudi Aramco to expand into Saudi Arabia, where they’ll build a technology center with data hubs. This will diversify an economy that largely depends on oil.

Joining Forces

Saudi Aramco, one of the world’s biggest oil companies, is looking to branch out into the technology sector. For the last few months they’ve been in talks with Google, specifically Alphabet CEO Larry Page, to open three data centers in a deal worth $1 billion. At this point in time Saudi Arabia relies on data centers in Europe, which provide slower service through undersea cables. It’s expected that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz will announce state-owned Saudi Aramco’s deal when he visits the United States later in 2018.

No details have been announced about the size of the data centers or their customer base. Along with Google, Amazon has also shown interest in contributing.

This partnership with Google helps Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, a project seeking to improve the economy by making it less dependent on a single industry. The main force behind it, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, pushed Saudi Aramco to consider new opportunities beyond oil. While welcoming Google to Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince has also returned the favor by taking part in talks about Silicon Valley.

About Saudi Aramco

Over the course of eighty years Saudi Aramco became one of the largest oil and gas companies. Their headquarters are in Saudi Arabian city Dhahran, but their employees number 65,000 around the globe. (Locations include the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, the Netherlands, and throughout Asia.) This is a big year for Saudi Aramco. Previously a private organization, its president and CEO Amin Nasser confirmed plans to go public. Their IPO (initial public offering) will rank among the biggest share-sales in the world.