Saudi Aramco/SABIC Sign MoUs with Chinese Firms

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Saudi Aramco and SABIC have signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to develop refining and chemical plants in China. The deals were done during a visit by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to Beijing on Mar. 16, when he oversaw the signing of agreements potentially worth as much as $65 billion. The visit was part of a month-long tour of Asia to promote investment opportunities in the kingdom, including the sale of a stake in Aramco.

In total, Saudi and Chinese companies signed 21 deals that ranged from exploring investments in oil and petrochemical plants to e-commerce and cooperating in renewable energy markets.

The MoU between state oil giant Saudi Aramco and China North Industries Group (Norinco) is designed to enable further strategic cooperation and downstream investment opportunities in China, including the development of a refinery and chemical plants. Aramco also signed an MoU with Nanjing, Jiangsu-headquartered Aerosun for manufacturing reinforced thermoplastic pipe and components as well as research & development activities.

Saudi Aramco said the potential investments fit with its strategy to expand its refining and chemicals portfolio in a bid to diversify assets and secure long-term agreements for its oil.

Under their agreement, SABIC and Sinopec will study opportunities for multiple joint projects to boost China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative and Saudi’s Vision 2030 plan. China launched its OBOR plan to forge closer trade and investment ties along old trade routes. Saudi’s Vision 2030 is a blueprint to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil and comprises three themes: a vibrant society; a thriving economy; and an ambitious nation.

Both companies will develop petrochemical projects by forming joint ventures in China and Saudi Arabia that target key downstream markets, such as automotive, electronics, lighting, building and construction, packaging and medical equipment. The agreement will also explore opportunities for further investments in their existing joint venture Sinopec SABIC Tianjin Petrochemical.

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