Saudi Crown Prince meets Xi, $10 billion refinery deal signed

saudi prince
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman

Beijing, Feb 22 Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday as Saudi oil company Aramco signed a pact to develop a $10 billion refining and petrochemical complex in China as 35 other economic deals worth $28 billion were inked by the two countries.

Aramco will develop a 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery in China with a 1.5 million tonne-per-annum ethylene cracker and a 1.3 million tonne-per-annum paraxylene unit alongside Chinese companies Norinco Group and Panjin Sincen, the National daily reported.

The Saudi producer will have a 35 per cent interest in the new company, Huajin Aramco Petrochemical, with Norinco and Panjin Sincen holding 36 and 29 per cent stakes each.

Aramco would supply up to 70 per cent of the crude feedstock for the complex, which is expected to start operations in 2024.

Aramco also signed an agreement to buy a 9 per cent stake in Zhejiang Petrochemical, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

Saudi Arabia then signed 35 economic co-operation agreements with China worth a total of $28 billion at a joint investment forum during the royal visit, SPA reported.

During the meeting, Xi urged a joint China-Saudi effort to counter extremism and terror. “China is a good friend and partner to Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding that “the special nature of our bilateral relationship reflects the efforts you have made.”

The Saudi royal said the kingdom’s relations with China dated back “a very long time in the past”.

“In the hundreds, even thousands, of years, the interactions between the sides have been friendly. Over such a long period of exchanges with China, we have never experienced any problems with China,” he said.

“The Silk Road initiative and China’s strategic orientation are very much in line with the kingdom’s Vision 2030,” the Crown Prince said.

Earlier, he met Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing and discussed ways of strengthening relations and national security before the royal presided at a China-Saudi co-operation forum and its signing ceremony.

Han said the two countries should enhance exchanges on their experiences in de-radicalisation, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Crown Prince landed in Beijing on Thursday and was received by Khi Li Fung, the Chinese Deputy Chairman of the Advisory and Political Council. He later toured the Great Wall of China with the country’s ambassador to Riyadh.

The China trip was part of the Saudi royal’s Asian tour after visiting Pakistan and India earlier this week.

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