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DUBAI: State-owned Saudi Aramco has signed an agreement to form a joint venture with Chinese conglomerate Norinco to develop a refining and petrochemical complex in Panjin city, saying the project is worth more than $10 billion.

Aramco and Norinco, along with Panjin Sincen, will form a new company called Huajin Aramco Petrochemical Co as part of a project that will include a 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery with a 1.5 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) ethylene cracker, Aramco said on Friday.

The deal was signed during a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Beijing as part of an Asia tour.

Aramco will hold 35 percent of the new company, with Norinco and Panjin Sincen owning 36 percent and 29 percent respectively, the statement said.

Aramco will supply up to 70 percent of the crude feedstock for the complex, which is expected to start operations in 2024. The value of the project means it is the largest Sino-Foreign joint-venture, Aramco said.

The agreement "is a clear demonstration of Saudi Aramco's strategy to move from beyond a buyer-seller relationship, to one where we can make significant investments to contribute to China's economic growth and development," Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said in the statement.

It said there were also plans to establish a fuels retail business. Saudi Aramco, North Huajin and Liaoning Transportation Construction Investment Group are expected to form a three-party marketing joint-venture company by the end of 2019, it said.

This will develop a retail fuel stations network in target markets, the statement added.

Copyright Reuters, 2019