Saudi energy minister meets Chinese official to fast-track energy projects

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Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih met on Thursday with Yuan Jiajun, governor of China’s Zhejiang province, to discuss fast-tracking the completion of joint energy and petrochemical projects in the Chinese province.

“The meeting also dealt with launching new maritime lines and increasing trade exchange between the two countries, considering that the Kingdom is China’s partner in the Belt and Road Initiative,” al-Falih said on his official Twitter account. The Belt and Road Initiative is China’s $1 trillion global development and trade strategy which includes maritime, rail and road projects in Asia, Africa and Europe.

The two officials also agreed on the need to organize further official visits, and to establish additional joint investments and production projects with private sector companies in Saudi Arabia and China, added al-Falih.

Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco signed on Thursday a new memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China’s Zhejiang Free Trade Zone, in which the Zhoushan Government said it would support encouraging Aramco’s greater investment in Zhejiang’s future downstream growth.

The MoU will facilitate the energy giant’s acquisition of a nine percent stake in Zhejiang integrated refinery and petrochemical complex, Aramco said in a statement.

The agreement was signed at Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran by Jiajun, who is the governor of China's eastern Zheijiang province home to 57 million people, and Aramco CEO Amin Nasser.

Saudi Aramco previously signed in October 2018 a MoU with the Zhejiang provincial government to acquire a stake in the Zhejiang Petrochemical refinery project. The oil company's decision was aimed at expanding its overall presence in China.

In February 2019, Aramco said it had signed a separate joint venture agreement with China-based Norinco Group and Panjin Sincen to create a $10 billion, fully integrated, refining and petrochemical complex in Panjin Liaoning province, China.

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