Ground broken for Saudi Aramco-Norinco Refining, Petrochemical and Retail Project

Panjin, Liaoning, China — Saudi Aramco, China North Industries Corporation (Norinco), and Panjin Xincheng Industrial Group, Co. Ltd. signed a joint development agreement and held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Saudi Aramco-Norinco Refining, Petrochemical and Retail Project in Panjin, in northeast China’s Liaoning province.

The idea for this project received a major boost during a visit by The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Ibn ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz Al-Sa’ud to China in March, when Saudi Aramco and Norinco signed the project Memorandum of Understanding.

HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and Chairman of the Saudi Aramco Board of Directors, attended the ceremony where Saudi Aramco and Norinco signed an agreement to pave the way for a joint development agreement to build a refining, chemicals, and retail network in Panjin. Al-Falih was in Beijing to participate in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

Later on-site in Panjin, Abdulaziz M. Al-Judaimi, senior vice president of Downstream at Saudi Aramco, attended a groundbreaking event, which was also attended by 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. Representatives from relevant ministries, provincial departments, Norinco, Saudi Aramco, and the Huajin Group also attended.

Strong partners

“Norinco and the government of Liaoning province are among the best partners to be in this project considering the great value proposition they are bringing to the table,” said Al-Judaimi. “There might be some challenges that we may face in the journey of implementing this project in the future, as in any worthy endeavor, but I am confident that we will be able to overcome them taking into consideration first Saudi Aramco’s proven record of project management skills while executing mega-projects, and second, the strong commitment shown by all stakeholders to work together as one team to make sure this project is a big success.”

The governor of Liaoning province, Chen Qiufa, announced the project commencement and the joint development agreement was signed by Al-Judaimi, Zhao Gang, and Hao Chunrong.

The project is a key element in China’s petrochemical industry forward planning and the revitalization drive for the old industrial base in northeast China. It is a major project in Norinco’s drive to develop the industrial value chain, facilitating overseas oil exploration and trade, as well as growth in the petrochemical, final chemicals, and specialty chemical sectors.

Having completed the environmental impact assessment and winning 23 project supporting documents in less than three years, the project obtained final approval from the Liaoning Provincial Development and Reform Commission.

Project promotes ‘Belt and Road’

The goal of the project is to build a world-class refining and chemical-integration base, with global best practice standards of cost saving, sustainability, and advanced technology. The construction will be based on the principles of integration, clustering development, differentiation and scale up.

The project will further promote the implementation of China’s “Belt and Road” initiative and the safe, efficient, and sustainable development of petrochemical industry in China in partnership with the globally recognized enterprise working in this field.

The project will significantly expand Saudi Aramco’s footprint in China’s downstream industry considering the paramount importance of the Chinese economy for Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco’s future investments. It will also enhance the competitiveness of Norinco’s petrochemical and value- added chemical divisions, and promote the overall economic revitalization in Liaoning and Panjin.

This project will potentially become a key building block in both companies’ portfolios and a new landmark in the industry, since it has all the ingredients for integration, optimization, capital efficiency, and is located in a very promising region. Both partners will bring their best practices in project management and execution and operations to add value to this project.


Photo caption: Abdulaziz M. Al-Judaimi and Zhao Gang, both sitting, sign the “Norinco and Saudi Aramco Joint Framework Agreement on Refining, Petrochemical, and Retail Project” in Beijing in the presence of HE Khalid A. Al-Falih and Yin Jiaxu, chairman of Norinco Group.