China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, Asia's largest refiner, signed a strategic agreement on Jan. 20, 2016 with the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, also known as Saudi Aramco, to further explore business opportunities in the Middle East country's oil and gas industry.
The agreement was signed during President Xi Jinping's three-nation tour of the Middle East, as the world's second-largest economy seeks closer political and economic ties with the region.
The deal came after construction began on the second phase of a major Red Sea oil refinery, a joint venture between China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, and Saudi Aramco with the first phase becoming fully operational in April, Sinopec said in a statement.
The venture, Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Co, estimated to cost nearly $10 billion, covers an area of about 5.2 million square meters. It will process 400,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day. Aramco will hold a 62.5 percent stake in the plant, and Sinopec will own the remainder.