Saudi Arabian energy company Saudi Aramco signed 12 deals with major South Korean companies worth billions of dollars, the Saudi company announced on Wednesday.
The agreements aim to reinforce relationships, expand international operations, and support the region's energy security with the expansion of Arabian crude oil supply to Asian markets, according to the company's statement.
The multi-billion dollar deals signed with the South Korean companies, including Hyundai Oilbank, Korea National Oil Corporation and others, are part of Saudi Aramco's long-term downstream growth and diversification strategy, the company said.
As Korean companies played a vital role in Saudi Aramco's upstream offshore growth development, they have moved into other sectors matching Saudi Aramco's diversification strategy, according to Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser.
"Today's agreements mark a new era of cooperation with our Korean partners who will play an increasingly important role in our strategy to capitalize on new initiatives that include long-term energy supply, maritime and infrastructure development, and breakthrough research and development in the automotive, crude to chemicals, and non-metallic sectors," said Nasser.
In line with a crude oil sales deal, Saudi Aramco will supply Arabian crude oil to South Korea-based Hyundai Oilbank, while Aramco Trading Company will supply non-Arabian crude oil to the Korean company under a crude oil agreement.
Another agreement signed with Korea National Oil Corporation will allow Saudi companies to explore the potential of crude oil storage in the country to complement its marketing and supply activities.
The cooperation between Saudi Arabia and South Korea has gradually gained momentum during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reign.
The Crown Prince arrived in Seoul on Wednesday for the first leg of his official visit to South Korea and Japan. During the talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the Crown Prince emphasized enhanced strategic partnership between the two countries in several fields, including energy.
Saudi Arabia, which exported around 187,000 barrels of crude oil per day to South Korea in the first half of 2019, is the country's top oil supplier.
By Busranur Begcecanli