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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Saudi oil refinery deal shows close ties

By Hu Yinan (China Daily)

08:06, January 16, 2012

Premier Wen Jiabao talks with family members of Abdul-Rahman Ali Al-Jeraisy, president of the Saudi Arabia-China Friendship Association, during a visit to his home in Riyadh on Sunday. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - In what Riyadh calls "the largest expansion by any oil company in the world", Sinopec's deal on Saturday with Saudi oil giant Aramco will allow a major oil refinery to become operational in the Red Sea port of Yanbu by 2014.

The $8.5 billion joint venture, which covers an area of about 5.2 million square meters, is already under construction. It will process 400,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day. Aramco will hold a 62.5 percent stake in the plant while Sinopec will own the remaining 37.5 percent.

The deal "represents a strategic partnership in the refining industry between one of the main energy producers in Saudi Arabia and one of the world's most important consumers", said Aramco president and CEO Khalid Al-Falih.

Sinopec, the largest producer and supplier of oil products in Asia, is already Aramco's top crude oil customer, according to Al-Falih. Sinopec Group chairman Fu Chengyu said the project propels the two companies' strategic cooperation and contributes to enhancing the partnership between China and Saudi Arabia.

Al-Falih called the endeavor the latest chapter in a long history of cooperation, collaboration and trade between China and the Arabian Peninsula.

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