Saudi Aramco and Malaysia’s state-held oil firm Petronas are close to signing a deal to take an US$8-billion loan that would partly finance the construction of their joint refining and petrochemical complex in Malaysia, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, quoting people familiar with the deal.
In February 2017, Aramco and Petronas signed a deal for Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant to take an equity stake in Petronas’ Refinery & Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in the southern Malaysian state of Johor. While Petronas aims to create a regional downstream oil and gas industrial hub, the deal for Aramco is part of its downstream strategy in Asia to secure stakes in refineries and petrochemical projects to lock in future crude oil sales across the fastest-growing oil import market in the world.
The Malaysian refinery will have the capacity to refine 300,000 barrels of crude per day. It is expected to start up in 2019, producing gasoline, diesel, and feedstock for its integrated petrochemical complex to the tune of 3.5 million tons of products annually.
According to Petronas, under the partnership, Saudi Aramco will supply up to 70 percent of the crude feedstock requirements for the refinery, while natural gas, power, and other utilities will be supplied by Petronas.
Last year Aramco was planning to invest US$7 billion in the $27-billion refining and petrochemical complex.
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Now Aramco and Petronas are very close to signing an US$8-billion loan deal to help fund part of the complex, and they could sign the agreement as early as in March, Bloomberg’s sources said.
BNP Paribas SA, HSBC Holdings Plc, and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd are some of the banks that have agreed to take part in the loan financing, according to Bloomberg’s sources.
As early as in October 2017, media reports had it that Petronas and Aramco were seeking to obtain an US$8-billion loan for the refinery complex, with more than 10 banks invited to submit pricing for the loan that the two oil firms would finance equally.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.