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March 22, 2021

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China Aramaco’s focus at least 50 years

Saudi Aramco will ensure China’s energy security remains its highest priority for the next 50 years and beyond as new and existing energy sources run in parallel for some time, CEO Amin Nasser told the China Development Forum yesterday.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, retained its position as China’s top supplier in the first two months this year, with volume up 2.1 percent to 1.86 million barrels per day, China customs data showed on Saturday.

The kingdom beat Russia to keep its ranking as China’s top crude supplier in 2020 despite unprecedented production cuts in a pact between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to balance global markets after demand plunged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ensuring the continuing security of China’s energy needs remains our highest priority – not just for the next five years but for the next 50 and beyond,” Nasser said in a video speech.

Aramco lowered its guidance for capital expenditure in 2021 to around US$35 billion from a range of US$40 billion to US$45 billion, according to a disclosure to the kingdom’s Tadawul bourse. Capital spending in 2020 was US$27 billion.

The world’s largest oil exporter said net profit fell 44.4 percent to 183.76 billion riyals (US$49 billion) for the year ended December 31, from 330.69 billion riyals a year earlier.

Nasser told an earnings call earlier yesterday that Chinese demand was very close to pre-pandemic levels while Asia, East Asia in particular, had seen a strong pickup.

Besides being a top supplier of China’s energy needs, Nasser said Aramco is also well-placed to help China achieve its second centennial goal in energy transition.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in September China will bring its carbon emissions to a peak before 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2060, a pledge that is expected to create a tectonic shift in its energy and manufacturing sectors.


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