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Deal with Petronas gives Saudi Aramco 50% stake in Malaysian oil venture

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, left, shakes hands with Malaysia's Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan during a press conference at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia and Malaysia signed four major agreements Monday that will go a long way in cementing ties between the two countries. (AP Photo/Daniel Chan)
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Oil major Saudi Aramco has signed a $7 billion deal to take a 50 percent stake in a mega Malaysian oil refinery project, in a pact official said will help Saudi Arabia increase trade in Southeast Asia.
Aramco inked the agreement Tuesday with Malaysia’s national oil company Petronas, which is developing the $27 billion refinery and cracker plant in southern Johor state.
Officials have said the deal will make Aramco the single largest investor in Malaysia.
Saudi’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the Malaysian deal will help expand Aramco’s portfolio ahead of its initial public offering next year, which is touted to become the world’s largest share sale.
The deal was signed as Saudi King Salman visited on a multi-nation tour to build up economic ties with Asia.

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