Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil exporting company, is “doubling down” on China’s energy supply, according to its chief executive.
“We want to be an all-inclusive source of energy and chemicals for China’s long-term energy security and … high-quality development,” Amin Nasser said at the China Development Forum on Sunday.
“That’s why we are doubling down on China’s energy supply, including new lower carbon products, chemicals, and advanced materials, all supported by emissions reduction technologies,” he said.
Despite a surge in China’s imports of Russian crude last year, Saudi Arabia remains the country’s top crude supplier.
Saudi Arabia exported 87.49 million tonnes of crude oil to China in 2022, which is equal to 1.75 million barrels per day, according to Chinese customs data.
China is expected to import record volumes of crude this year as it gradually reopens its economy, ending nearly three years of strict Covid regulations.
There are “green shoots” appearing, especially in China, that are positive for the world economy, the International Monetary Fund's managing director, said at the same event.
“Here the economy is seeing a strong rebound … driving this growth is the anticipated rebound of private consumption as the economy has reopened and activity has normalised,” said Kristalina Georgieva.
“This matters for China, and it matters for the world. The robust rebound means China is set to account for around one third of global growth in 2023 — giving a welcome lift to the world economy.”
The IMF expects gross domestic product in the country to grow by 5.2 per cent this year, 2 percentage points higher than in 2022. Growth rebounded to 8.4 per cent in 2021 following a deceleration after the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
In December, Aramco and China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) signed an initial agreement to build a refinery and a petrochemicals plant in China.
The 320,000-bpd refinery and 1.5 million tonnes-per-year petrochemical cracker complex will be in operation by the end of 2025.
Aramco also signed a preliminary agreement with China’s Shandong Energy Group to supply crude oil and chemical products.
The scope of the agreement also extends to co-operation across technology related to hydrogen, renewables and carbon capture and storage.