Five firms steer Saudi Aramco’s Chinese business expansion


White & Case, Fangda Partners, Grandall Law Firm, T&C Law Firm and JunHe have advised various parties in two of Saudi oil giant Aramco’s latest oil projects in China.

The projects include Saudi Aramco’s RMB24.6 billion (USD3.57 billion) acquisition of private Chinese chemical group Rongsheng Petrochemical and the establishment of a 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery in northeast China.

Saudi Aramco said it would purchase a 10% stake in Rongsheng Petrochemical, which is a major stakeholder of one of China’s largest private refiners Zhejiang Petroleum and Chemical (ZPC). The latter company operates the country’s biggest single refining and chemicals complex.

White & Case acted as international counsel to Saudi Aramco, led by partners Saul Daniel in Singapore and Vivian Tsoi in Shanghai, and included Brussels-based partner Strati Sakellariou-Witt, local partners James Hsiao in Hong Kong and Peiwen Chen in Singapore.

Fangda Partners acted as PRC counsel to Saudi Aramco, led by corporate team partners Fang Jian and Pan Siyuan, with support from capital market partners Jiang Xueyan and Cong Dalin, anti-trust partners Michael Han and Caroline Huang, compliance partner Kang Yingjie, banking partner Romy Zhuo and employment partner Zhou Bo.

Advising Rongsheng Petrochemical and its controlling shareholder Rongsheng Holding Group was Grandall led by Shanghai-based managing partner Li Qiang, with support from Qian Yi, the general counsel of international development and foreign affairs, and partners Dong Liang, Qin Jiajun and Cai Zhuo. Partner Li Peng assisted with anti-monopoly matters.

T&C partner Sun Li also advised Rongsheng Petrochemical.

Saudi Aramco also signed a long-term crude oil supply agreement, providing 480,000bpd of feedstock to ZPC.

The equity acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of 2023 and is currently subject to regulatory approval.

The second project is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco, Norinco Group’s subsidiary Huajin Group, and Panjin Xincheng Industrial Group, to establish a 300,000bpd refinery with a 1.65 million metric tonnes per annum ethylene cracker and a 2 million metric tonnes per annum paraxylene unit in Panjin, Liaoning province.

This project is one of the China-Saudi Arabia strategic co-operation projects jointly promoted by the countries’ leaders in 2017.

Fangda Partners acted as PRC counsel to Saudi Aramco, while White & Case acted as international counsel. The same White & Case team members on the first project were also involved on the second one with additional support from Singapore-based partner Matthew Osborne and Washington-based partners Nicole Erb and Richard Burke.

JunHe advised Huajin Group on PRC law, led by Lian Jing, with support from partners Bill Qin, Cong Qing, Wei Yingling, Bai Hongjuan, Leon Liu, He Fang and Zhao Tingting. Lawyers Du Lijing and Atlas Zhang as well as counsel Zhou Yong and Steven Wang also assisted.