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Saudi Aramco locks up stake in China petrochemicals firm

By AFP - Jul 22,2023 - Last updated at Jul 22,2023

RIYADH — Saudi Aramco said on Friday it had completed its purchase of a 10 per cent stake in a Chinese petrochemicals firm, part of an expansion into the world's top crude importer.

The Saudi energy giant unveiled plans in March to acquire the stake in Rongsheng Petrochemical, valued at $3.4 billion.

The deal calls for the supply of 480,000 barrels per day of Saudi crude to an integrated refining and chemicals complex owned by a Rongsheng affiliate.

"Our strategic partnership with Rongsheng advances Aramco's liquids to chemicals strategy while growing our presence in China and showcases our importance as a reliable supplier of crude oil," Aramco Vice President Mohammed Al Qahtani said in a statement. 

"This key acquisition is an important part of Aramco's long-term growth strategy, expanding our presence in a vital market."

Rongsheng chairman Li Shuirong said the deal "marks the entry  of Rongsheng and Aramco into a new era together, and also signifies an important step forward in Rongsheng's internationalisation strategy."

China is Saudi Arabia's top oil customer.

However despite efforts by OPEC+ oil producers to slash production and drive up prices, Russia has been ramping up sales of discounted oil to both China and India in a bid to fund its war in Ukraine and get round Western sanctions.

Aramco, which is mostly state-owned and said it earned record profits totalling $161.1 billion last year, has pledged to achieve "operational net-zero" carbon emissions by 2050.

That applies to emissions that are produced directly by Aramco's industrial sites, but not the CO2 produced when clients burn Saudi oil in their cars, power plants and furnaces.

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