Saudi Arabia wants to expand its investments in China’s energy industry, the Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said late on Friday, part of the kingdom’s efforts to boost cooperation with a top customer and increase investments in non-oil fields.
Falih’s comments were made in an emailed statement after discussions with China’s Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and other officials in Beijing during a G20 ministerial meeting.
“Saudi Arabia is very keen to elevate their partnership in the energy sector to the highest level,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.
He said he hoped Saudi investments could increase to cover all Chinese provinces and that there was room to grow bilateral trade in both energy and other hydrocarbons products such as petrochemicals.
Falih also said he wanted to see new investment projects carried out by Saudi and Chinese sovereign wealth funds, and added that the two countries shared interest in crude oil storage, mining, renewable energy and industrial development.
Oil producers’ battle for market share in Asia, and particularly in China, the world’s No. 2 consumer, has heated up since the return of Iranian crude to the market after sanctions were lifted on Tehran this year.
Both oil giant Saudi Aramco and petrochemicals conglomerate Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic) have joint venture businesses in China and new projects under development.
In January Aramco said it was also in advanced talks to invest in refineries in China. Sabic said in May it had agreed to build another petrochemical factory there.
These new agreements after the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman introduced a reform plan aiming at decreasing the kingdom’s dependence on oil by increasing investments in other sectors.