Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi, who is on a short visit to China, held separate talks in Beijing today with China's Vice Premier of the State Council Zeng Peiyan, with Minister of Commerce Yu She Lai and with President Chin Tong Kai of the Seunbek oil company; and yesterday with head of China's States Committee for Development and Reforms Ma Kai. During these meetings, cooperation between Saudi Arabia and China in oil, gas and mining was discussed.
In a statement afterwards, Minister Al-Naimi explained that this cooperation focuses on three areas:
First: increased sales of Saudi oil to China. Noting that China's consumption of oil is increasing at a higher rate than that of any other country in the world, Minister Al-Naimi stated that China currently imports around 300,000 barrels per day from the Kingdom.
Second: plans for joint projects. Minister Al-Naimi cited the agreement between Saudi Aramco and the Chinese company Seunbek to explore for natural gas in area ‘B’ of the Kingdom’s Empty Quarter [Rub’ Al-Khali]; and the agreement for the establishment of a refinery in China’s Fujian Province to process and market Saudi oil.
Third: the proposed railroad to serve Saudi mines. Minister Al-Naimi spoke of the possibility that China will contribute to the construction of this railroad, which will transport minerals from the north of the Kingdom to Riyadh and then to manufacturing sites and export stations along the Arabian Gulf. There is also the possibility that China will participate in the exploration for phosphates and bauxite.