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China, Kuwait seal US$9 brefinery deal

CHINA and Kuwait have signed a long-awaited agreement on a US$9-billion oil refinery in Guangdong Province, said to be the country's largest such venture so far.

The deal was signed late Monday in Beijing by Kuwaiti oil minister Sheik Ahmed Al Abdullah Al Sabah and Zhang Guobao, director of China's energy agency, the Kuwait News Agency said yesterday.

A preliminary deal was reached in 2005, but it was delayed due to disagreement over its location. The refinery was originally meant to be located in the southern city of Guangzhou, but the Chinese side wanted it moved due to environmental concerns.

The deal between state-owned Kuwait Petroleum International and Chinese refiner Sinopec Corp calls for the refinery to be built in Zhanjiang, a city on Guangdong's coast, the Kuwaiti report said. The refinery will help Kuwait, which sits atop 10 percent of the world's proven oil reserves, to achieve its goal of exporting 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day to China by 2015, it said.

It fits China's aim of securing future oil supplies to fuel its fast-growing industries.

Kuwait will hold 30 percent in the venture with Sinopec, as China Petroleum and Chemical Corp is known, holding 50 percent. Dow Chemical Co of the United States and Royal Dutch Shell PLC each will take 10 percent in the venture, which is due to begin operations by 2013, the report cited the Kuwaiti oil minister as saying.

"This agreement comes at an excellent time with signs of a global economic recovery, and it will also take energy cooperation between Kuwait and China to a new level," it quoted him as saying.


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