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Saudi Aramco has equity in the refining business in China, which is to become a major market for the company. Chinese crude oil imports are expected to exceed 2.6m b/d by 2010. Talks on raising Chinese purchases of Saudi crude oil and on Saudi Aramco investing in China's downstream were held in September 2001 during a visit to Shanghai by Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi. He met with the Chinese Minister of the State Development and Planning Commission, Zeng Peiyan, and the CEOs of state oil firms including Li Yizhong of Sinopec. The talks were held in the margin of an oil conference held in Shanghai.

In 1995 Saudi Aramco bought 45% in a small refinery at Thalin in north-east China. In late 2002 the Chinese government approved a JV between Sinopec and Fujian Petrochemical Co. (50%), Saudi Aramco (25%), and ExxonMobil (25%) for repair and expansion of a 80,000 b/d refinery at Fujian in south-east China. A feasibility study for this was done by the partners in 2001/02. Under a $3.5 bn programme, the JV will have a complex built at Fujian to produce 800,000 t/y of ethylene and the refinery will be expanded to 240,000 b/d by 2006. The complex will also produce poly-ethylene and polypropylene.

During a visit to the kingdom by Chinese President Jiang Zemin on Nov. 1, 1999, the two governments signed several co-operation agreements including a contract raising Saudi Aramco's crude oil sales to China. Saudi Arabia is China's biggest trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa, and two-way trade amounts to almost $2 bn.

India: Saudi Aramco and Shell concluded a strategic alliance deal in late 1997 for downstream investments in the Indian market. But so far there have been no concrete results. Saudi Aramco in 1998 pulled out of a major oil refining project promoted by Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Saudi Aramco has also been negotiating a JV for a new LPG terminal, storage depot and distribution facilities on the Indian west coast.

India is one of the fastest growing markets for LPG in the world, with over one million having for years been on the waiting list for LPG in the Mumbai (Bombay) area alone. Saudi Aramco is the biggest producer and exporter of LPG in the world.

Pakistan: The Saudi government has had a stake in a fertilisers venture in Pakistan run by Pak-Saudi Fertilisers (PSF). Established in 1980, PSF's plant is located at Mirpur Mathelo. It has a capacity of 557,000 t/y of urea and 320,000 t/y of ammonia.

PSF was privatised in an auction held in October 2000.
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Publication:APS Review Oil Market Trends
Date:Oct 20, 2003
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