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Saudis Look To Build Oil Refinery, Petrochemical Plant In South Africa

Saudi Arabia plans to build an oil refinery that would use Saudi crude, as well as a petrochemical plant in South Africa, as part of US$10 billion investments, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Friday while on a visit to South Africa.

Saudi oil giant Saudi Aramco will lead the construction of the oil refinery in South Africa, al-Falih noted.

“There have been exchanges of talks by Saudi Aramco teams and they have been supported by the South African energy ministry,” Reuters quoted the Saudi minister as saying after a meeting with South Africa’s Energy Minister Jeff Radebe.

“The Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia concluded & signed a declaration of intent to cooperate comprehensively in the field of oil & gas,” Radebe tweeted on Friday.

According to the South African minister, the two countries will finalize in the next few weeks details about the exact locations of the oil refinery and petrochemical plant.

Al-Falih, for his part, noted that Saudi Arabia was interested in using the African country’s major oil storage facilities. In addition, Saudi Arabia’s utility developer ACWA Power is looking to invest in South Africa’s new renewable energy program.

In the summer of 2018, during the state visit of South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa to Saudi Arabia, the Saudis pledged to invest US$10 billion in South Africa, predominantly in the energy sector.

While Ramaphosa was on a visit to Saudi Arabia in July, the outlet Middle East Eye raised questions about the potential involvement of South Africa-made weapons in the conflict in Yemen.

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According to annual reports from South African National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), quoted by Middle East Eye, South Africa supplied arms, ammunition, armored vehicles, and surveillance and military technology to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2016 and 2017. In 2015, the pro-Houthi Al Masirah news channel showed footage of a shot-down drone. The footage clearly indicated a plate worded ‘Made in South Africa Carl Zeiss Optronics Pty Ltd’ on the crashed drone, Zeenat Adam at Middle East Eye wrote in July 2018.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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