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Saudi Aramco Looks to Expand Downstream Business in China


Saudi Aramco looks to further bolster its downstream presence in the world’s top crude oil importer, China, the oil giant’s Downstream President, Mohammed Al Qahtani, has said.

“China is strategically important to our business growth in Asia and worldwide, and we will remain a reliable source of long-term oil supply,” Al Qahtani was quoted as saying by China Daily.

Oil product demand in China has seen a robust recovery, the Saudi executive said, reiterating Aramco’s view that China will drive global oil demand growth and is of strategic importance to the world’s largest crude oil exporter, Saudi Arabia.  

“For example, more than half of the world’s oil demand growth this year could come from China alone,” Al Qahtani said, echoing views of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and other forecasters that expect Chinese demand growth to account for around 70% of global oil demand increase in 2023.

The long-term prospects on the Chinese market are also favorable for Saudi Aramco, which is looking to further expand its downstream business in China and lock in future term supply contracts with the top global oil importer.

Just last month, Saudi Aramco completed the purchase of a 10% stake in a Chinese petrochemical firm for the equivalent of $3.4 billion as the Saudi oil giant continues to expand its downstream footprint in one of its key export markets. Aramco successfully closed the acquisition of a 10% interest in Rongsheng Petrochemical Co Ltd.

Saudi Aramco announced earlier this year two major refinery and petrochemical deals in China, which not only give the world’s largest oil firm a share of the Chinese downstream market but also an additional export outlet for 690,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Saudi crude in China.

Oil prices decline last week due to the increase in the value of the US dollar

Following a series of seven weeks of oil price increases, there was a decline last week due to a stronger US dollar. However, OPEC+ has indicated its readiness to take necessary actions to stabilize the market and control supply.

Bitumen markets

In Europe, Bitumen prices decreased compared to last week. Asia Bitumen prices in Korea and Singapore rose up and uncertainties got back to the markets in the Middle East. India, on the other hand, raised bitumen prices by 24.5 USD on August 15. This increase in rates has caused the total changes of August to reach + 50 USD.

In the Middle East, the new steel drum bitumen is in the range of $ 418 – $ 423 and the bulk bitumen is in the range of $ 330 – $ 335. The bulk of Singapore is volatile in the range of $ 460 – $ 465 and South Korea is currently $ 420 – $ 425.

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Saudi Aramco Looks to Expand Downstream Business in China