Multi-billion-dollar boost to Saudi-Korean ties

Aramco advances global chemicals strategy with S-Oil expansion project

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, and Korean President Moon Jae-in inaugurate S-Oil's new Residue Upgrading Complex and Olefin Downstream Comple­x during a ceremony near Seoul on Wednesday. — SPA

Saudi Gazette report

Seoul —
Saudi Arabia and South Korea signed multi-billion-dollar economic cooperation pacts Wednesday during the first visit to Seoul by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense.

Saudi Arabia is Seoul's biggest oil supplier and most of the agreement is accounted for by a deal between Saudi Aramco and Korean firm S-Oil to build refinery and downstream facilities in South Korea.

The inauguration also included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Saudi Aramco and S-Oil to collaborate on a $6 billion Steam Cracker & Olefin Downstream Project which is expected to be completed by 2024.

Saudi Arabia is South Korea's “biggest construction market overseas, the largest investor in the country among countries in the Middle East and also the biggest trading partner in the region,” President Moon Jae-in said at a meeting with Crown Prince Muhammad.

The economic pact also involved several other deals between Saudi Aramco and Korean firms, including Korea National Oil Corporation, Hyundai Heavy Industries and carmaker Hyundai Motor.

The Crown Prince also met the heads of the country's biggest conglomerates, including Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong and Chairman of SK Group.

Saudi Aramco and its affiliates also signed 12 agreements with major South Korean companies to reinforce relationships with South Korea, expand international operations, and support the region's energy security with the expansion of Arabian crude oil supply to Asian markets.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) announced the signing of 15 memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and agreements with South Korean investors.

Two new licenses were also awarded to South Korean businesses, permitting them to establish operations in the Kingdom.

These deals highlight the value and diversity of opportunities being created by Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, as well as the growing interest from public and private sector entities from across the globe to invest in the Kingdom.

Ibrahim Al-Omar, Governor of SAGIA, said: “Businesses from Saudi Arabia and South Korea have a strong track record of working together, and there are significant opportunities for further growth. The relationship between our two countries is a winning proposition for both sides. Saudi Arabia benefits from South Korean businesses’ expertise and investment, while South Korean companies are able to tap into a dynamic G20 economy with strong market fundamentals across a number of strategic sectors. These partnerships are essential for unlocking innovation and opportunities, while transferring valuable skills and creating jobs for young Saudi men and women. We look forward to welcoming these companies to the Kingdom and we hope many more will follow.”