Your Excellencies, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
This is a historic day.
Today's agreement to establish the Kingdom's first integrated steel plate manufacturing complex further strengthens the ties between trusted partners, companies and countries.
This facility in the newly announced Special Economic Zone in Ras Al Khair will bring together Aramco's energy and industrial services supply chain network… the PIF's world-class investment fund… and Baosteel's advanced technology capabilities and know-how.
We are able to establish this powerful and strong alliance thanks to the tremendous support we have received from Government… in particular, from the Shareek program and the Ministry of Investment.
Their support helped us to overcome hurdles and paved the way for the agreement we are signing today.
I would also like to thank the Ministry of Energy… and the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources for their continued support.
This project is another testament on how Vision 2030 and its associated programs are transforming the business ecosystem in making Saudi Arabia an even more attractive destination for local and international investors.
I also want to express my deep appreciation to Chairman Chen and President Hu of the China Baowu Group for their strong support in making this a reality.
Indeed, this project represents another important milestone in strengthening our relationship with our partners from China.
A relationship that has moved well beyond just the sale of crude oil… to much more expanded, diversified and strategic bilateral partnerships.
The proof of that is today's joint venture ceremony with Aramco making significant investments in China, and partners like Baosteel recognizing the investment appeal of Saudi Arabia.
I am pleased that this joint venture is being facilitated under Aramco's Industrial Investment Program – “Namaat” – which enables diversification and localization in the Kingdom.
It will also serve to contribute to Aramco's IKTVA localization program, as the joint venture's products will proudly be “SAUDI MADE”.
And it is expected to add approximately 1,800 direct and indirect jobs with a target of 80-percent Saudization.
When fully operational, it is also projected to substitute annual imports estimated at more than $1.3 billion.
That said, this project is not about just meeting local demand. Over time, it will be able to export to global markets.
Crucially, this manufacturing facility will open the pathway for steel production with significantly lower carbon emissions in the future.
By leveraging the latest technologies to make it hydrogen-ready, the facility is designed to eventually produce steel plates with up to 90-percent less CO2 emissions than the traditional production process.
Indeed, for hard-to-abate sectors, this facility can potentially show the way forward for sustainability.
Just as steel is resilient and can withstand the test of time, so too can partnerships such as today's joint venture between Baosteel, the Public Investment Fund and Aramco.