SABIC and Saudi Aramco agree to study oil-to-chemicals project

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Saudi Aramco and SABIC signed the heads of agreement for the oil-to-chemicals feasibility study in Dhahran. Saudi Aramco was represented by Abdulaziz Judaimi, business line head, downstream, while SABIC was represented by Uwaidh Alharethi, executive vice president, chemicals. The signing were witnessed by Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser and SABIC CEO Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan.
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Top executives of Saudi Aramco and SABIC at the event.
Updated 28 June 2016

SABIC and Saudi Aramco agree to study oil-to-chemicals project

DHAHRAN: Saudi Aramco and Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) have signed a heads of agreement to conduct a feasibility study on the development of a fully integrated crude oil-to-chemicals complex to be located in Saudi Arabia.

The heads of agreement contains key principles of cooperation that will form the basis for the companies to establish a joint venture, if the joint study reaches a positive conclusion.
Derived from improved refining technology, the crude oil-to-chemicals process will involve innovative configurations with proven conversion technologies.
This will create a fully integrated petrochemical complex which maximizes chemical yield, transforms and recycles by-products, drives efficiencies of scale and resource optimization and diversifies the petrochemical feedstock mix in the Kingdom.
Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser said: “Our agreement with SABIC reflects our vision to build on Saudi Arabia’s global leadership in crude oil production and commodities export by substantially increasing the production of oil-based petrochemicals and further optimizing value across the entire hydrocarbons chain.”
He said the agreement “will help spur a new era of industrial diversification, job creation and technology development in Saudi Arabia, particularly through downstream conversion of specialty chemicals by small and medium sized enterprises.”
SABIC vice chairman and CEO, Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan said: “By working together to deliver Chemistry that Matters, SABIC and Saudi Aramco can drive advances that will diversify the Kingdom’s feedstock mix and make oil a viable petrochemical feedstock.”
He added: “We are hopeful that our agreement to conduct a joint feasibility study on the development of an integrated crude oil-to-chemicals complex in Saudi Arabia will ultimately lead to a new era for the Kingdom, driving strong economic growth, creating many new opportunities for aspiring young Saudis, and playing a significant role in the Kingdom’s economic transformation.”
Consistent with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals, this project will provide new opportunities toward creating a  world leading downstream sector in Saudi Arabia, built on four key drivers: maximizing value from the Kingdom’s crude oil production via vertical and horizontal integration across the hydrocarbon chain; enabling the creation of conversion industries that produce semi-finished and finished goods to help diversify the economy; developing advanced technologies and innovation; and, enabling the Kingdom’s sustainable development in alignment with the Kingdom’s National Transformation Program.


Trump advisers urge delisting of US-listed Chinese companies that fail to meet audit standards

Updated 39 min 8 sec ago

Trump advisers urge delisting of US-listed Chinese companies that fail to meet audit standards

  • Growing pressure to crack down on Chinese companies that avail themselves of US capital markets but do not comply with rules
WASHINGTON: Trump administration officials have urged the president to delist Chinese companies that trade on US exchanges and fail to meet US auditing requirements by January 2022, Securities and Exchange Commission and Treasury officials said on Thursday.
The remarks came after President Donald Trump tasked a group of key advisers, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, with drafting a report with recommendations to protect US investors from Chinese companies whose audit documents have long been kept from US regulators.
It also comes amid growing pressure from Congress to crack down on Chinese companies that avail themselves of US capital markets but do not comply with US rules faced by American rivals.
“We are simply leveling the playing field, holding Chinese firms listed in the US to the same standards as everyone else,” a Treasury official told reporters in a briefing call about the report.
The US Senate unanimously passed legislation in May that could prevent some Chinese companies from listing their shares on US exchanges unless they follow standards for US audits and regulations.
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, who sponsored the bill described the recommendations as “an important first step,” but said that “without the added teeth of our bill, this report alone does not implement the requirements necessary to protect everyday American investors.”
The administration’s recommendations, if implemented via an SEC rulemaking process, would give Chinese companies already listed in the United States until Jan. 1, 2022, to ensure the US auditing watchdog, known as the PCAOB, has access to their audit documents.
They can also provide a “co-audit,” for example, performed by a US parent company of the China-based affiliate tasked with auditing the Chinese firm. However, companies seeking to list in the United States for the first time will need to comply immediately, the officials said.
A State Department official told Reuters the administration plans soon to scrap a 2013 agreement between US and Chinese auditing authorities to set up a process for the PCAOB to seek documents in enforcement cases against Chinese auditors.
China said on Friday that the two countries have “good cooperation” in monitoring publicly listed firms.
“The current situation is that some US monitoring authorities are failing to comply with their obligations, and what they are doing is political manipulation — they are trying to force Chinese companies to delist from US markets,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing.
The PCAOB has long complained of China’s failure to grant requests, giving it scant insight on audits of Chinese firms that trade on US exchanges.
The report also recommends requiring greater disclosure by issuers and registered funds of the risk of investing in China, as well as mandating more due diligence by funds that track indexes and issuing guidance to investment advisers about fiduciary obligations surrounding investments in China.
The moves come amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over China’s handling of the coronavirus and its moves to curb freedoms in Hong Kong, among other issues.