RABIGH: Diplomats from 65 countries were invited with their spouses to join a one-day trip on Tuesday to the Petro Rabigh complex.
On the trip, organized by the Saudi Foreign Ministry, they were introduced to the company’s most important features, its operational capabilities, and regional and global developments in refining and petrochemicals.
The aim of the visit was to introduce the diplomats “to the Kingdom’s industrial, economic and cultural achievements,” Eyad Ajaj, manager of public and government affairs at Petro Rabigh, told Arab News.
“More importantly,” the trip aimed “to make them familiar with areas of investment in the Kingdom, especially in the petrochemical sector, in order to encourage their companies to invest in Saudi Arabia, where we have raw materials and good-quality petrochemicals,” he said. The diplomats “represent their countries, so they’ll convey these good impressions of Saudi Arabia,” he added.
The trip began with a tour of the Petro Rabigh industrial complex. With the help of the world’s largest single-phase integrated refining and petrochemicals complex, Petro Rabigh yields 140 million barrels of petroleum-based products and 5 million tons of petrochemical products per year.
Petro Rabigh, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical, is the Middle East’s first producer of several petrochemical products and the sole producer of propylene oxide. This provides tremendous opportunities for local and international investors.
The diplomats visited the Petro Rabigh Plastic Technical Center, and were received by Ajaj and the company’s CEO Nasser Al-Mahasher.
Ajaj delivered a presentation about the company’s history, achievements and future plans, and answered the guests’ questions.
The trip ended with an outdoor dinner buffet of traditional food from western Saudi Arabia, as well as singing and dancing by a Saudi folklore band from the city of Taif.
Egyptian Consul General Dr. Hazem Ramadan thanked the Saudi Foreign Ministry for organizing the trip, and Petro Rabigh officials for facilitating it and receiving the guests.
“It was a great honor to know the statistics about the achievements of Petro Rabigh, and the important role played by the company in the Saudi economy and the Arab economy in general,” he told Arab News.
“We wish the project leaders success, expansion, prosperity and progress, and to achieve the ambitious plans that we learned about today.”
South African Consul General Shoayb Casoo told Arab News: “The whole plant of Petro Rabigh is quite impressive. It’s good to see the Saudis making this in the Kingdom, and making it successful. This shows a company and a country that are ambitious, confident and well-geared for the international market.”
Saudi Arabia accounts for half of South Africa’s oil imports, he said. “We have a growing commercial relationship with the Kingdom, and we’re seeing Saudi Arabia investing in South Africa, so the relationship is mutually beneficial,” he added.
“There was an announcement in July last year, during a state visit, that Saudi Arabia will build a refinery in South Africa, and about two weeks ago a memorandum of understanding was signed … to start the process of building the refinery. There’s also talk of Saudi Arabia building a storage capacity in South Africa,” Casoo said.
“It would be a good foundation for the Kingdom to grow in the whole of Africa while using South Africa as a base.”
Revati Raman Paudel, acting consul general of Nepal, told Arab News: “This trip was really enjoyable for us. At the same time, we came to know the Saudi economic strategy when starting this business.”
He said: “When I saw this power base I found it very interesting, and I’ll share what I saw with my government for investment in petrochemicals.”