Vietnam News

Saudi Arabian firm seeks to set up refinery in Vietnam

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Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil and gas company Aramco is looking for opportunities to build a refinery in Vietnam.

The company is active in Asia Pacific but has yet to have a direct project in Vietnam even though it is an oil supplier for Vietnamese businesses, its vice president Yasser M. Mufti told Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh Thursday during the latter’s visit to Saudi Arabia.

Mufti proposed that the government allow the company to study the possibility of setting up a refinery project.

Chinh said that Vietnam welcomed Aramco to invest in the country and provide support in human resources training.

Aramco is one of the biggest oil and gas company in Saudi Arabia. It posted a 46% increase in profits to $161 billion last year.

Vietnam has two oil refineries that meet around 70% of domestic fuel demand.

Also Thursday PM Chinh met with Minister of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia Faisal Al-Ibrahi and expressed hope for a bilateral partnership in energy and finance-banking.

Chinh said he was impressed with the diversification into non-oil industries of Saudi Arabia and its priority for green development by 2030.

He proposed further trade and investment activities between the two countries, with priorities for energy, finance-banking, digital transformation and Halal food production.

Al-Ibrahi said he would collaborate with Saudi Arabian government bodies to boost economic partnership with Vietnam.

In another meeting, Minister of Human resources and Social Development of Saudi Arabia, Ahmad Alrajhi, said that he valued the quality of Vietnamese workers, whose number total around 5,000 in Saudi Arabia.

The country plans to employ 10 million more foreign workers in the sector of manufacturing, energy, healthcare and tourism, he said, adding that Saudi Arabia sought to have more Vietnamese workers.

Chinh said that the workforce was a key factor in bilateral partnership, especially as Saudi Arabia is deploying new infrastructure projects.

He proposed that the two countries complete a legal framework to ensure a strong partnership in human resources.

Chinh is in Saudi Arabia from Oct. 18 to 20. This is the first time leaders of ASEAN and GCC countries are meeting, though the two blocs established relations 33 years ago.

Saudi Arabia is a key economic partner for Vietnam in the region. In the first seven months of this year bilateral trade rose by 7.4% year-on-year to US$1.6 billion.

Vietnam exports garments, wood, rice, cashew nuts, phones and components to Saudi Arabia, and mainly imports chemicals, liquefied petroleum gas, and plastics from the country.

Many Saudi Arabian corporations are investing directly and indirectly in Vietnam, such as Zamil Steel Group and chemical manufacturer Sabic Group. The Saudi Arabia Development Fund has granted $181 million to 13 preferential loan projects in Vietnam.

By Hoai Thu – – October 19, 2023

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