Saudi Arabian and Iraqi companies signed 18 memorandums of understanding in the energy sector at the seventh session of Iraq International Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition.
The MoUs were signed in the presence of Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saudi Exports Development Authority Engineer Khalid Al-Falih and Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Alluaibi at Basra.
Saudi Arabia is participating at the exhibition as a guest of honor with a delegation of 22 firms focusing on energy and other industries.
Al-Falih said that there are many strategic advantages like human resources, geographic location, energy resources, natural and mineral resources and current and potential industries between Saudi Arabia and Iraq that would aid in developing a successful partnership between them.
Al-Alluaibi expressed his desire to establish cooperation and partnership with Saudi Arabia in future by signing the MoU’s and noted Saudi Arabia’s outstanding participation at the exhibition.
Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Saudi Aramco and chemical firm Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish an innovative crude oil to chemicals (COTC) complex worth $20 billion.
The planned COTC, which is expected to be the largest project in the world to convert crude oil to chemicals, and the first of its kind in the Kingdom, will commence its operations in 2025. It will convert 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day to about 9 million tonnes of chemicals and base oils annually.
The investment costs would be shared equally between Saudi Aramco and SABIC.
The venture aims to create 30,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities in the Kingdom. By 2030, it would contribute to 1.5% of Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The COTC complex will showcase highly innovative configuration developed by Saudi teams, which will achieve a crude oil to chemical conversion that is unprecedented in history.
“This project converges the commercial and strategic interests of both Saudi Aramco and SABIC, while reinforcing Saudi Aramco’s efforts to optimize the investment of our petroleum resources”, said Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin H.Nasser.
With the government’s decision to sell up to 5 percent of its shares next year as an initial public offering (IPO), Saudi Aramco has been on the move to expand its downstream portfolio. COTC will further aid the oil giant to reduce its focus on transportation sector and secure a promising future in the commercial sector.
Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, Vice Chairman and CEO of SABIC, said that the project will help realize Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which aims at achieving “economic prosperity by boosting our investment capacity, diversifying the economy and creating jobs for Saudi nationals”. Moreover, the new project would help SABIC to diversify and expand its operations, he added.
The two companies are in search of an ideal location for establishing COTC and Jeddah and Yanbu are under its prime consideration.
The Ministry of Commerce and Investment said that there has been an increase of 93 percent in tasattur cases under probe in the Kingdom in 2017.
As many as 781 cases of expatriates doing business in the names of Saudis for a fixed fees were brought to the attention of the attorney general before going to the court this year, compared to only 450 cases in 2016.
The details were published at “The National Program to Combat Commercial Tasattur” workshop held by the ministry at Riyadh headed by Dr. Majed Al- Qasabi.
The ministry also revealed an increase in inspection tours to check tasattur from 10,503 in 2016 to 14,701 in 2017. Moreover, 306 cases were referred to other ministries and government departments compared to 76 cases in 2016.
The workshop examined limitations faced by the government in fighting tasattur and called for further development of the existing systems to combat tasattur, intensify supervision and raise public awareness.
The workshop also urged to keenly observe financial sources of companies by asking them to deal with receipts and bills through bank accounts only and obtain detailed information of activities carried out by companies.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Development announced that gold and jewellery shops employing expatriates will be imposed a fine of SR 20,000 for each non-Saudi employee after December 3, 2017.
Khaled Aba Al-Khail, spokesman of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, said permanent inspectors will be appointed in malls and markets to track down violators and punish them after December 3.
The Kingdom currently has around 6,000 gold and jewellery shops with more than 25,000 employees. Despite government efforts to Saudize the sector since 2007, only about 50 percent is reported to have been nationalized till date.