Saudi Aramco, Petronas to sign $7 billion oil refinery deal

BE2C2 Report — Petronas and Saudi Aramco executives are scheduled to sign an agreement Tuesday for $7 billion investment into the $27 billion oil refinery and petrochemical project in Malaysia’s southern state of Johor.

Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Monday that Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Saudi Aramco will invest US$7 billion into the project.

Najib said the decision was made before noon on Monday after discussions between top executives from Saudi Aramco and Malaysia’s state-owned energy company, the sponsor of the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project.

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Najib’s statement marks a dramatic reversal in RAPID’s fortunes after industry sources familiar with the matter said in January that Aramco planned to drop its participation in a partnership with Petronas in the project.

At the time, Petronas said it would move ahead in spite of Aramco dropping out. Najib did not give any details on the change of heart.

“This is a significant investment and more details will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday),” Najib said at a brief news conference after hosting a state luncheon for Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and his entourage.

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“I just want to confirm that the agreement has been reached and King Salman is satisfied that the deal will be signed tomorrow,” Najib said.

The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques began on Sunday a three-week Asian tour to seek investment and technical expertise. The world’s biggest oil exporter looks to diversify its economy and establish knowledge-based market in the Kingdom.

King Salman’s first stop is close ally Malaysia, which the late king Abdullah visited 11 years ago. Other stops would include Japan, Indonesia, China, and the Maldives, according to reports.

UM confers honorary degree on King Salman

The University Malaya Vice Chancellor Sultan nazrin Muizzuddin Shah on Monday presented an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters to King Salman bin Abdulaziz (L) at the University Malaya campus in Kuala Lumpur.

The honorary degree was presented Monday by Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, who is also UM Chancellor, in recognition of the Saudi King’s contribution “as a revolutionary, innovative leader through his numerous improvements brought about during his two-years reign as the ruler of Saudi Arabia”.

In his speech, King Salman said institutions of higher learning in Muslim countries must take on the challenge to produce more work that can contribute to the development of the Muslim world.

He said that the Muslim world is currently facing various challenges in education and technical aspects, as well as political and economic difficulties.

“Therefore, universities and institutions of higher learning in Muslim countries must take on this challenge by producing research that can contribute to the development of Muslim countries and at the same time be beneficial to others in the world,” he said.

Saudi Arabia to triple scholarships for Malaysian students next year

The Saudi government on Monday said it will increase the number of scholarships for Malaysian students to study in the Kingdom next year.

Head of the Cultural Mission at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia here, Dr Zayed Al Harithi, said there are currently more than 100 Malaysian students studying in the Arab country.

He said the decision to increase the scholarships was based on the overwhelming number of scholarship applications received last year, which was more than 300.

“There were only 100 scholarships available for Malaysian students last year to study at Imam Mohamed bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh.

“We have many more universities in Saudi Arabia and we will give more scholarships to Malaysian students for them to pursue their studies in other universities,” he told reporters at the ice-breaking event between Malaysia and Saudi Arabian media here, last night.

He said the scholarship covers studies at diploma, bachelor, master and PhD degrees for all programmes except for medicine.

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