Aramco to buy Shell’s 50% stake in Saudi refining joint venture for $631m

Saudi Aramco is to take full ownership of a refinery company based in Jubail Industrial City. (AFP)
Updated 21 April 2019
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Aramco to buy Shell’s 50% stake in Saudi refining joint venture for $631m

  • The sale is expected to complete later this year
  • Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Co., based in Jubail Industrial City, has a crude oil refining capacity of 305,000 barrels per day

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco will acquire Royal Dutch Shell’s 50 percent stake in their Saudi refining joint venture SASREF for $631 million, the two companies said on Sunday.

The purchase, which is part of Aramco’s strategy to expand its downstream operations, will be completed later this year, they said in a joint statement.

Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Co. (SASREF), based in Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia, has a crude oil refining capacity of 305,000 barrels per day (bpd).

“Saudi Aramco will take full ownership and integrate the refinery into its growing downstream portfolio. SASREF will continue to be a critical facility in our refining and chemicals business,” Abdulaziz Al-Judaimi, Aramco’s senior vice president of downstream, said in the statement.

Aramco aims to become a global leader in chemicals and the world’s largest integrated energy firm, with plans to expand its refining operations and petrochemical output.

For Shell, “the sale is part of an ongoing effort to focus its refining portfolio, integrating with Shell trading hubs and chemicals,” the company said.

Shell has sold over $30 billion of assets in recent years as it shifts its focus to lower carbon businesses such as natural gas and petrochemicals.


China opens up finance sector to more foreign investment

Updated 20 July 2019
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China opens up finance sector to more foreign investment

  • China will remove shareholding limits on foreign ownership of securities, insurance and fund management firms in 2020
  • Beijing has long promised to further open up its economy to foreign business participation and investment

BEIJING: China lifted some restrictions on foreign investment in the financial sector Saturday, as the world’s second largest economy fights slowing growth at home and a damaging trade war with the US.
China will remove shareholding limits on foreign ownership of securities, insurance and fund management firms in 2020, a year earlier than originally planned, the Financial Stability and Development Committee said in a statement posted by the central bank Saturday.
Foreign investors will also be encouraged to set up wealth management firms, currency brokerages and pension management companies, the statement said.
Beijing has long promised to further open up its economy to foreign business participation and investment but has generally dragged its feet in implementing the moves — a major point of contention with Washington and Brussels.
Saturday’s announcement followed a Friday meeting chaired by economic czar Liu He where policymakers focused on tackling financial risk and financial contagion and pledged new steps to support growth, according to a state council statement.
Additional measures include scrapping entry barriers for foreign insurance companies like a requirement of 30 years of business operations and canceling a 25 percent equity cap on foreign ownership of insurance asset management firms.
Foreign owned credit rating agencies will also be allowed to evaluate a greater number of bond and debt types, the statement said.
US President Donald Trump has launched a damaging tariff war in an attempt to force Beijing to further open up its economy and limit what he calls its unfair trade practices.
The US and China have hit each other with punitive tariffs covering more than $360 billion in two-way trade.
Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to revive fractious trade negotiations when they met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan on June 29 and top US and Chinese negotiators have held phone talks this month.