Factbox: Saudi-China energy, trade and investment ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China September 4, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Dec 9 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia and China signed a series of agreements during President Xi Jinping's visit to the kingdom, demonstrating deepening ties between the two countries that Riyadh's traditional ally the United States is warily watching.

Arab powerhouse Saudi Arabia is the world's top oil exporter while economic giant China is the world's biggest energy consumer. China is a major trade partner of Gulf Arab states and economic ties have been expanding.

Below are some details about oil, trade and security relations between China and Saudi Arabia, and some of the announcements on agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) signed during Xi's visit to the kingdom.

WHAT WAS AGREED?

Saudi King Salman and Xi signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement. State news agency SPA said Saudi and Chinese firms signed 34 investment agreements in green energy, information technology, cloud services, transport, logistics, medical industries, housing and construction.

Details on some agreements:

*MoU between the Saudi government and Huawei for cloud data computing and building high-tech complexes in Saudi cities.

*MoU between Saudi Aramco and Shandong Energy that includes a potential crude supply agreement and chemicals products offtake deal, as well as exploring collaboration on integrated refining and petrochemicals in China.

*Saudi ACWA Power said it signed nine MoUs with Chinese entities laying the ground for financing, investment and construction of ACWA's clean and renewable energy projects in Saudi Arabia, and Belt and Road Initiative countries.

*MOU between Saudi-based Sumou and China-based ENOVATE Motors to establish an electric vehicle factory in Saudi Arabia with a capacity of 100,000 cars per year.

OIL TRADE

China is Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade worth $87.3 billion in 2021. Chinese exports to Saudi Arabia reached $30.3 billion, while China's imports from the kingdom totalled $57 billion.

Saudi Arabia is also China's top oil supplier, making up 18% of Beijing's total crude oil purchases, with imports totalling 73.54 million tonnes (1.77 million barrels a day) in the first 10 months of 2022, worth $55.5 billion, according to Chinese customs data.

Oil imports by China last year amounted to 87.56 million tonnes, worth $43.9 billion, making up 77% of China's total merchandise imports from Saudi Arabia.

State-run Saudi Aramco has annual supply deals with half a dozen Chinese refiners including Sinopec, CNPC, CNOOC, Sinochem, Norinco as well as private refiner Zhejiang Petrochemical Corp.

REFINERIES

Aramco in early 2022 made a final investment decision to build a $10 billion refinery and petrochemical complex in northeast China, marking its single largest investment in the world's second largest economy.

Named Huajin Aramco Petrochemical Company, the joint venture groups Aramco, Huajin Chemical Industries Group Corporation (000059.SZ) - a unit of defence conglomerate Norinco - and Panjin Xincheng Industrial Group.

The project, expected to be operational in 2024, combines a 300,000 bpd refinery and 1.5 million tonnes per year ethylene plant, with Aramco set to supply up to 210,000 bpd of crude oil.

Aramco's only other similar investment in China is a 25% stake in Refining and Petrochemical Company Ltd in Fujian province controlled by state refining giant Sinopec Corp , which began in 2008 operating a 280,000 bpd refinery and a 1.1 million tonne per year (tpy) ethylene complex.

Aramco signed a memorandum of understanding in 2018 with the Zhejiang provincial government to invest 9% in Zhejiang Petrochemical Corp that operates China's single largest refinery of 800,000 bpd. No further progress has been announced since.

Similarly, Sinopec owns 37.5% in Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Co (YASREF), a joint venture with Aramco that operates a 400,000-bpd refinery in Yanbu on the Red Sea coast.

FINANCIAL

China's state-owned Silk Road Fund is part of a consortium led by U.S.-based EIG Global Energy Partners that closed a deal in 2021 to buy 49% of Saudi Aramco's oil pipelines business for $12.4 billion.

Silk Road is also part of a consortium led by BlackRock Real Assets and Hassana Investment Company that announced in February the completion of a 49% stake acquisition in Aramco Gas Pipelines Company for $15.5 billion.

POWER

Saudi utility developer ACWA Power, partly owned by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, said in September that it had agreed with Silk Road Fund to jointly invest in a 1.5 gigawatt (GW) gas-fuelled power plant in Uzbekistan for $1 billion, part of Beijing's One Belt One Road initiative.

State-run China Energy Engineering Corp (CEEC) is building a 2.6-GW solar power station in Al Shuaiba in Saudi Arabia, also owned by ACWA Power, the Middle East's largest solar project.

MILITARY, SECURITY

Saudi Advanced Communications and Electronics Systems Co (ACES) signed a deal with China Electronics Technology Group to manufacture unmanned aerial vehicle payload systems in the kingdom, Saudi English-language newspapers Arab News and Saudi Gazette reported in March.

The UAE in February said it plans to order 12 L-15 light attack planes from China with the option of purchasing 36 more.

Reporting by Chen Aizhu in Singapore, Rachna Uppal in Dubai and the Gulf team; editing by Mark Heinrich

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