Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) is expected to enjoy another boost with its joint construction projects building turbine engine plants and shipyards in Saudi Arabia. HHI Chairman Choi Gil-seon and President Kwon Oh-gap met Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih in Seoul to discuss joint operations between HHI and Saudi Aramco.
Khalid Al-Falih is also chairman of Saudi Aramco. Experts believe the meeting is expected to help the struggling shipyard’s efforts in normalizing its management if they deliver detailed outcomes over the projects. Last November, HHI signed a general memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi Aramco to jointly collaborate on business development opportunities in Saudi Arabia. Under the agreement, HHI secured a bid preference over ships ordered by the Saudi government as well as the maintenance contract.
Chung Ki-sun, senior vice president of HHI Corporate Planning and also a grandson of Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung, reportedly played a leading role behind the MoU deal with Saudi Aramco.
Saudi Aramco Chairman Khalid Al-Falih wa appointed as Saudi Energy Minister in May last year. He also met Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Joo Hyung-hwan after the meeting with HHI officials. Al-Falih earlier said Saudi Arabia wants to expand its investments in China’s energy industry as part of efforts to boost cooperation with a top customer.
Al-Falih’s comments were made in an e-mailed statement after discussions with China’s Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and other officials in Beijing during a G20 ministerial meeting. “Saudi Arabia is very keen to elevate their partnership in the energy sector to the highest level,” he said. He said he hoped Saudi investments could increase to cover all Chinese provinces and that there was room to grow bilateral trade in both energy and other hydrocarbons products such as petrochemicals.
Al-Falih also said he wanted to see new investment projects carried out by Saudi and Chinese sovereign wealth funds, and added that the two countries shared interest in crude oil storage, mining, renewable energy and industrial development.
Both Saudi Aramco and petrochemicals conglomerate Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) have joint venture businesses in China and new projects under development. In January, Aramco said it was also in advanced talks to invest in refineries in China. SABIC said in May it had agreed to build another petrochemical factory there.