China and Saudi Arabia signed several deals on Monday, including one on energy and possibly a refinery, during King Abdullah’s first official visit to the world’s second-biggest oil consumer.
The king met Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing on Monday afternoon as both sides sought to use their burgeoning oil business as a basis for broader economic and diplomatic cooperation.
“We hope this cooperation will develop even more in the future,” King Abdullah said. “We emphasise (that) we praise the important role China plays regionally and internationally.”
Hu said the king’s visit showed Saudi Arabia’s emphasis on strengthening its ties with China, adding: “I believe your majesty’s visit will play an important role in pushing forward relations between the two countries.”
Saudi Arabia is already the largest supplier of oil imports to China, which has been scouring the globe for crude to feed its booming economy, tempting potential partners with the prospects of its huge market…
Al-Faisal said the energy deal set a “framework” for investment, but actual investment would have to come from companies, adding Saudi and Chinese firms had extensive contacts.
Details on the energy deal were not immediately available.
A member of the king’s delegation, who asked not to be identified, said the agreements likely included a refinery deal, but did not elaborate.
Chinese refineries find it difficult to handle Saudi Arabia’s heavy crude. So Saudi Arabia is likely to find a larger market for its oil in China if it invests in processing plants…