Saudi Aramco, Chinese groups sign deal to build refining, chemicals complex

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih fourth from left, at the signing ceremony. (SPA photo)
Updated 16 May 2017

Saudi Aramco, Chinese groups sign deal to build refining, chemicals complex

DHAHRAN: Saudi Aramco, China North Industries Group Corp. (Norinco) and Panjin Xincheng Industrial Group signed an agreement and performed the ground-breaking ceremony for a refining and chemicals complex in northeast China, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, who was in Beijing to participate in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, attended the ceremony where the deal was signed to build Saudi Aramco-Norinco Refining, Petrochemical and Retail project in Panjin.
Later, Abdulaziz M. Al-Judaimi, senior vice president downstream at Saudi Aramco attended a ground-breaking event. Yin Jiaxu, chairman of Norinco group, Zhang Lei, Liaoning executive deputy governor, Nabil Al-Nuaim, president of Aramco Asia and Gao Ke, Panjin Municipal Party Secretary were also present at the event, which was held at the site of the proposed project.
Al-Judaimi said that there might be some challenges in the implementation of this project. “But I am confident that we will be able to overcome those issues taking into consideration Saudi Aramco’s proven record of project management skills and the strong commitment of all the stakeholders.”
The goal of the project is to build a world-class refining and chemical integration base.
The project will further promote China’s “Belt and Road.” It will significantly expand Saudi Aramco’s footprint in China’s downstream industry considering the paramount importance of the Chinese economy for Saudi Arabia’s future investments. The project will also enhance the competitiveness of Norinco’s petrochemical and value-added chemical divisions, and promote the overall economic revitalization in Liaoning and Panjin.

New emissions blow for VW as German court backs damages claims

Updated 44 min 25 sec ago

New emissions blow for VW as German court backs damages claims

  • Scandal has already cost firm more than €30 billion; ruling serves as template for about 60,000 cases

KARLSRUHE, Germany: Volkswagen must pay compensation to owners of vehicles with rigged diesel engines in Germany, a court ruled on Monday, dealing a fresh blow to the automaker almost 5 years after its emissions scandal erupted.

The ruling by Germany’s highest court for civil disputes, which will allow owners to return vehicles for a partial refund of the purchase price, serves as a template for about 60,000 lawsuits that are still pending with lower German courts.

Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 to cheating in emissions tests on diesel engines, a scandal which has already cost it more than €30 billion ($33 billion) in regulatory fines and vehicle refits, mostly in the US.

US authorities banned the affected cars after the cheat software was discovered, triggering claims for compensation.

But in Europe vehicles remained on the roads, leading Volkswagen to argue compensation claims there were without merit. European authorities instead forced the company to update its engine control software and fined it for fraud and administrative lapses.

Volkswagen said on Monday it would work urgently with motorists on an agreement that would see them hold on to the vehicles for a one-off compensation payment.

It did not give an estimate of how much the ruling by the German federal court, the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), might cost it.

Volkswagen shares were 0.5 percent lower. The BGH’s presiding judge had signaled earlier this month he saw grounds for compensation.

Costs mount

“The verdict by the BGH draws a final line. It creates clarity on the BGH’s views on the underlying questions in the diesel proceedings for most of the 60,000 cases still pending,” Volkswagen said.

A lower court in the city of Koblenz had previously ruled the owner of a VW Sharan minivan had suffered pre-meditated damage, entitling him to reimbursement minus a discount for the mileage the motorist had already
benefited from.

The court at the time said he should be awarded €25,600 for the used-car purchase he made for €31,500 in 2014.

“We have in principle confirmed the verdict from the Koblenz upper regional court,” said BGH presiding federal judge Stephan Seiters.

Volkswagen had petitioned for the ruling to be quashed altogether by the higher court, while the plaintiff had appealed to have the deduction removed.

A Volkswagen spokesman said that outside Germany, more than 100,000 claims for damages were still pending, of which 90,000 cases were in Britain.

The carmaker also said it had paid out a total of €750 million to more than 200,000 separate claimants in Germany who had opted against individual claims and instead joined a class action lawsuit brought by a German consumer group.

The carmaker said last month it would set aside a total of 830 million for that deal.

In a separate court, Volkswagen agreed last week to pay €9 million to end proceedings against its chairman and chief executive, who were accused of withholding market-moving information before the emissions scandal came to light.