Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Al Saud and China’s President Xi Jinping inaugurated the Saudi/Chinese Yasref refinery at a ceremony in Riyadh on 20 January. The 400,000 b/d plant was built by Aramco and Sinopec at Yanbu’ and started up in January 2015. The inauguration was part of an official visit by Mr Xi to the kingdom, which is its biggest crude oil supplier – typically supplying upwards of 950,000 b/d – and a potentially bigger petroleum partner beyond crude oil sales.

At the inauguration, Aramco chairman Khalid al-Falih and Sinopec chairman Wang Yupu signed a ‘framework agreement for strategic cooperation’ which envisages a growing petroleum partnership between the two state firms. Aramco says the agreement is to “enhance the competitiveness of the crude oil supplied by Saudi Aramco to Sinopec and to actively explore cooperation opportunities in key areas including oil and gas services, refining, chemicals, crude oil supply, sales, petroleum services, petrochemicals services, technology development and promotion and new energy.” (CONTINUED - 231 WORDS)