Saudi Aramco agrees to $10 billion joint venture deal in China

Amin Nasser, center, the president and chief executive of Saudi Aramco, Jiao Kaihe, left, the chairman of NORINCO Group, Tang Yijun, the governor of Liaoning Province, during the signing ceremonies in Beijing, China. (Aramco)
Updated 23 February 2019

Saudi Aramco agrees to $10 billion joint venture deal in China

  • The partners will create a new company, Huajin Aramco Petrochemical Co. Ltd., as part of the project
  • Saudi Aramco will supply up to 70 percent of the crude feedstock for the complex

BEIJING: During a visit by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Beijing, Saudi Aramco on Friday signed a deal worth more than $10 billion for a refining and petrochemical complex in China.

The Saudi delegation, including top Aramco executives, arrived in China on Thursday as part of an Asian tour that included India and Pakistan.

The deal aims to set up a joint venture with Chinese conglomerate Norinco to develop a refining and petrochemical complex in the northeastern city of Panjin in Liaoning province.

The partners would form the Huajin Aramco Petrochemical Co. as part of a project that would include a 300,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery with a 1.5-million-metric-ton-per-annum (mmtpa) ethylene cracker, Aramco said.

The total value of the project is more than $10 billion, making it the largest Sino-foreign joint venture, it added.

Aramco will supply up to 70 percent of the crude feedstock for the complex, which is expected to start operations in 2024.

The investments could help Saudi Arabia regain its place as the top oil exporter to China, a position Russia has held for the last three years. 

Aramco is set to boost its market share by signing supply deals with non-state Chinese refiners.

“Our agreement with Norinco and Liaoning province is a clear demonstration of Saudi Aramco’s strategy to move from beyond a buyer-seller relationship, to one where we can make significant investments to contribute to China’s economic growth and development,” said Aramco CEO Amin Nasser. 

“Our participation in the integrated refining and petrochemical project in Panjin will strengthen our collaborative efforts to enhance energy security, revitalize key growth sectors and industries in Liaoning, and also meet rising demand for products and goods in China’s northeast region.”

There are additional plans to set up a fuels retail business, which will further integrate into the value chain, Aramco said.

By the end of 2019, a three-party company is expected to be formed between Aramco, North Huajin and the Liaoning Transportation Construction Investment Group Co. Ltd. to develop a retail fuel station network in the target markets.

Aramco also signed three memorandums of understanding aimed at expanding its downstream presence in Zhejiang province, one of the most developed regions in China.

Aramco aims to acquire a 9 percent stake in Zhejiang Petrochemical’s 800,000-bpd integrated refinery and petrochemical complex, located in the city of Zhoushan.

The first deal was signed with the Zhoushan government to acquire its 9 percent stake in the project.

The second agreement was signed with Rongsheng Petrochemical, Juhua Group and Tongkun Group, which are the other shareholders of Zhejiang Petrochemical.

Aramco’s involvement in the project will come with a long-term crude supply agreement, and the ability to utilize Zhejiang Petrochemical’s large crude oil storage facility to serve its customers in the Asian region.

An integral part of the project includes a third agreement with Zhejiang Energy to invest in a retail fuel network.

The companies plan to build a large-scale retail network over the next five years in Zhejiang province.

The retail business will be integrated with the Zhejiang Petrochemical complex as an outlet for the refined products produced.

Nasser said the agreements “demonstrate our commitment to the Chinese market and help enhance the strategic integration of our downstream network in Asia. They will further strengthen our relationship with China and Zhejiang province, setting the stage for more cooperation in the future.”

The first phase of the project will include a newly built 400,000-bpd refinery with a 1.4-mmtpa ethylene cracker unit and a 5.2-mmtpa aromatics unit.

The second phase will see a 400,000-bpd refinery expansion, which will include deeper chemical integration than the first phase.

China bemoans US ‘bullying’ of Huawei

Updated 23 May 2019

China bemoans US ‘bullying’ of Huawei

  • The trade spat between US and China escalated after President Donald Trump issued orders last week on grounds of national security
  • Trump’s move effectively bans US companies from supplying Huawei and affiliates with critical components

BEIJING: China’s foreign minister has slammed US moves against telecom giant Huawei as “economic bullying,” and warned that Beijing was ready to “fight to the very end” in its trade war with Washington.
The trade spat between the world’s top two economies escalated after President Donald Trump issued orders on grounds of national security last week that have prompted several foreign firms to distance themselves from Huawei.
“The US use of state power to arbitrarily exert pressure on a private Chinese company like Huawei is typical economic bullying,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday at a meeting in Kyrgyzstan of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security group led by Beijing and Moscow.
Trump’s move effectively bans US companies from supplying Huawei and affiliates with critical components over activities the US says are contrary its national security or foreign policy interests.
Japan’s Panasonic announced on Thursday that it was cutting back business with Huawei in light of the US ban. A day earlier, mobile carriers in Japan and Britain said they would postpone the release of Huawei smartphones.
“Some people in the United States do not want China to enjoy the legitimate right to develop, and seek to impede its development process,” Wang said, according to a foreign ministry statement issued late Wednesday.
“This extremely presumptuous and egocentric American approach is not able to gain the approval and support of the international community.”
The two countries have yet to set a date to recommence trade negotiations after they resumed their tariffs battle earlier this month, with Trump raising punitive duties on $200 billion in Chinese goods and Beijing hiking those on $60 billion in American products.
Trump has accused China of reneging on its commitments in the trade negotiations. Beijing has countered that any deal needs to be balanced.
“It is impossible for us to sign or recognize an agreement that is unequal,” Wang said.
“If the United States is willing to negotiate on an equal footing, then on the Chinese side, the door is wide open. But if the United States opts for a policy of maximum pressure, then China will take them on and fight to the end,” he said.