Sri Lanka invites KSA to set up oil refinery

Updated 24 December 2015
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Sri Lanka invites KSA to set up oil refinery

RIYADH: Sri Lanka has invited Saudi Arabia to set up a petroleum refinery in the southern part of the island, the country’s Central Bank Gov. Arjuna Mahendran said here.
In addition to meeting the needs of Sri Lanka, he said such a refinery could tap markets in neighboring countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Mahendran, an economist and a top banker, who was leading a high-powered delegation to the Kingdom, comprising chairmen and CEOs of commercial and state banks in Colombo, ended his Saudi visit on Wednesday.
Mahendran held talks with Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) Gov. Fahad bin Abdullah Al-Mubarak on Tuesday.
He said that the proposed refinery could be set up in Hambantota, some 300 miles away from Colombo. Hambantota hosts a full-fledged sea port, which could export crude and refined oil to other countries.
He said that international players such as SABIC and Saudi Aramco could easily come into this project.
Mahendran also said that Saudi construction companies could participate in infrastructure developments in the island.
“We need more schools, hospitals, houses and elders’ homes,” he said .
To help expatriates working in the Kingdom, Mahendran said he was negotiating with the SAMA governor to enable Sri Lankans’ remittances from Saudi Arabia to reach their banks at home in 60 seconds. “SAMA has responded positively to consider opening the payment gateway to enable this services in a year or two,” he added.
Speaking about Sri Lanka, he said : “A new chapter has opened under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena, who maintains inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony in the country.
Two rival parties have joined together in running the government and to work for rapid development.
The unity government gives political stability and builds confidence among foreign investors, he said,
The Board of Investments has introduced a package of incentives to viable ventures, he added.
He pointed out that around 550,000 Sri Lankans working in Saudi Arabia remit some SR10 billion annually.
According to Saudi officials, Sri Lankan was ranked as the third country in terms of outward remittances to home countries.
“Although, we have a tiny population here compared to other countries, law-abiding Sri Lankans send their monies through official channels,” Mahendran said.
This is appreciated by the host as well as their country of origin, he added.
Explaining the purpose of his visit, he said the government is interested in projecting its potential and explore new areas of cooperation with the Kingdom.
“We are exporting tea for some $800 million to the Kingdom. This could be improved and there are several other areas where the two countries could benefit from viable projects,” he added.
Representatives from leading banks such as Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, Commercial Bank, HNB, NDB, Amanah, Seylan Bank, Sampath Bank and Deutsche Bank AG accompanied the governor.


Saudi Aramco in talks for stake in world’s no. 4 chemical firm

Updated 19 July 2018
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Saudi Aramco in talks for stake in world’s no. 4 chemical firm

  • Aramco made the invitation for the SABIC deal to the banks last month
  • The oil giant is expanding its footprint globally by signing downstream deals and boosting the capacity of its plants

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco said on Thursday it is looking to buy a stake in Saudi petrochemical maker SABIC, a move that could boost the state oil giant’s market valuation ahead of a planned initial public offering.
Aramco said in a statement that it was in “very early-stage discussions” with the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund to acquire the stake in SABIC via a private transaction. It has no plans to acquire any publicly held shares, it said.
In a separate statement, the PIF also said that talks about a sale were in early stages. “There is a possibility that no agreement will be reached in relation to this potential transaction,” it said.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that Saudi Aramco had invited banks to pitch for an advisory role on the potential acquisition of a strategic stake in Saudi Basic Industries Corp, citing two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
Aramco wants to develop its downstream business as the government prepares to sell up to 5 percent of the world’s largest oil producer, possibly by next year. Boosting its petrochemicals portfolio further could help attract investors for the IPO.
Riyadh-listed SABIC, the world’s fourth-biggest petrochemicals company, is 70 percent owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s top sovereign wealth fund. It has a market capitalization of 385.2 billion Saudi riyals ($102.7 billion).
The Aramco IPO is the centerpiece of an ambitious plan championed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy beyond oil.
Aramco made the invitation for the SABIC deal to the banks last month, said the sources, declining to be identified due to commercial sensitivities.
Aramco plans to boost investments in refining and petrochemicals to secure new markets for its crude, and sees growth in chemicals as central to its downstream strategy to lessen the risk of a slowdown in oil demand.
The oil giant is expanding its footprint globally by signing downstream deals and boosting the capacity of its plants.
Aramco’s push into chemicals also includes a mega project it is building at home with SABIC. The $20 billion project would build a complex that converts crude oil into chemicals directly, bypassing the refining stage.