Kuala Lumpur, Dammam – Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammed Najib Abdul Razak attended on Tuesday the signing ceremony of an agreement for a stake purchasing between Saudi Aramco and Malaysian National Oil and Gas Company (Petronas) for a major refinery and petrochemical project.
In a joint statement, the firms said Aramco would take a 50 percent stake in select ventures and assets in the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project developed by Petronas.
Minister at the Office of Malaysian Prime Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan stressed the depth of the partnership and cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, saying this agreement was evidence of the strong commitment of the two countries to solid relations with each other, and an incentive for further upcoming strategic partnerships.
For his part, Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Faleh explained that the agreement was an additional pillar of close and growing economic cooperation between the two countries and fell within the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its strategy for expansion in refining, distribution and petrochemicals projects.
Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Al-Nasser said that the project, when completed, would have a huge capacity of refining up to 300,000 barrels per day, which would increase Aramco’s competitiveness even further.
Reuters reported that Aramco would buy $7 billion stake in Petronas’ RAPID refinery project, in its biggest downstream investment outside the Kingdom.
“Malaysia offers tremendous growth opportunities and today’s agreement further strengthens Saudi Aramco’s position as the leading supplier of petroleum feedstock to Malaysia and Southeast Asia,” Nasser was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“With RAPID’s strategic location in a prolific hub, it would also serve to enhance energy security in the Asia-Pacific region,” he added.
Petronas’ Chief Executive Officer Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin told reporters Aramco would take a 50 percent stake in RAPID’s refinery and cracker project.
“We started negotiations three years ago. There were no plans to break out of the agreement… From the beginning we came with the intention to stay,” Nasser said.
The Saudi energy minister echoed Nasser’s comments, saying Saudi Arabia would use the Malaysian investment as a platform to other investments in Southeast Asia.