The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) recently received the first-ever cargo of Arabian crude oil from Saudi Aramco at its flagship Huizhou refinery in South China’s Guangdong Province
The original 240,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery has recently completed a 200,000 bpd expansion that is configured to process sour Arab Gulf grades, and Aramco’s Arab Medium crude oil is a preferred choice for the plant’s baseload.
CNOOC is the last of China’s three large national oil companies to join Saudi Aramco’s customer family. Prior to its expansion, Huizhou had no need for imported sour crudes since it mostly processed domestic oil from CNOOC’s own offshore fields. Entrusted by the government to be the sole developer of China’s offshore upstream, CNOOC in 2016 produced about 1.1 million bpd of crude oil, as well as 1.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, and its total refining capacity stood at 1.2 million bpd.
The vessel’s arrival at the Huizhou terminal was celebrated by an Aramco Asia delegation together with representatives from CNOOC upper management.
The groundwork for this successful delivery was laid through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on future crude supply and downstream cooperation last year. The MoU came in the context of intergovernmental efforts to further energy cooperation and forge closer synergies between Saudi Vision 2030 and China’s “Belt and Road” initiative.
Nabil A Al-Nuaim, president and CEO of Aramco Asia, welcomed the news of CNOOC’s first Arabian crude oil arrival, noting: “The new crude sales agreement with CNOOC highlights that China is at the front and centre of our downstream strategy and that we continue to be China’s most reliable supplier. Aramco Asia will continue to support Chinese and other Asian refiners to have access to reliable Saudi crude.”
Expanding the company’s market share in China is an important strategic target, for which new crude sales agreements such as the Huizhou supply make a vital contribution. By fostering strong relationships with a diverse customer base, Aramco continues to be well positioned to play an important role in meeting China’s fast growing oil demand.