Saudi Aramco hosted Li Jianhua, Communist Party Secretary of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in China, on a two-day visit last week to the company’s headquarters in Dhahran, and to the Jazan Economic City in the southwest of Saudi Arabia.
During the visit, HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Aramco Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Amin Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, met with Li to discuss further joint investments to strengthen relations, within the context of HE President of China Xi Jinping’s ‘Belt and Road’ trade initiative.
Building on existing ties
“During Mr. Li’s visit, we discussed strengthening our crucial energy supplies to China and further partnerships to build on existing ties both here in Saudi Arabia and in Chinese officials China’s refining and marketing segments,” said Al-Falih. “We look forward to inviting many more Chinese companies to tap into
the Kingdom’s huge potential opportunities, including the three newly developed economic and industrial cities in Jazan, al-Hasa, and Ras Al-Khair.”
During his visit to Saudi Aramco, Li visited Jazan Economic City — a new refining, petrochemicals and feedstocks hub that provides state-of-the-art infrastructure and incentives for manufacturing companies seeking access to new markets including a potential export gateway to Africa.
Li also visited Saudi Aramco’s Oil Supply Planning and Scheduling Department, which serves as the ‘engine room’ for a reliable energy supply to China and customers around the world, located at the company headquarters in Dhahran.
In 2015, Saudi Aramco’s trade volume with China stood at 1 million barrels per day, 2% higher than the previous year’s level, and accounting for more than 15% of total Chinese imports.
A history of teamwork
Saudi Aramco has pursued significant downstream joint venture development opportunities with Sinopec in China, Asia’s largest refiner, through the Fujian Refining and Petrochemical Company (FREP) and the sinopec SenMei (Fujian) Petroleum Company(SSPC), and also through Yanbu’ Aramco Sinopec Refining Company (YASREF) in Saudi Arabia. In January, YASREF was inaugurated by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman ibn ’Abd Al-’Aziz Al-Sa’ud and President Xi, during the Chinese president’s official state visit to Saudi Arabia, when Saudi Aramco and Chinese government entities also signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to enable closer collaboration.
Saudi Aramco’s Beijing Research Center was inaugurated in 2015 to expand global reach and facilitate effective partnerships with local research entities, academia, and industry in China, while enhancing research in Saudi Arabia and across the company’s global research network.
Saudi Aramco is partnering with both the Development Research Center, China’s leading think-tank, through an MoU to study further co-operation in the Belt and Road’s economic, trade and energy arenas, and with the Chinese Academy of Engineering through an MoU promoting engineering and technological sciences between the two countries.
Chinese companies have a significant presence inside Saudi Arabia, with more than 160 Chinese companies operating across the construction, infrastructure, telecommunications and petrochemicals sectors.