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Saudi Aramco and Sinopec Create YASREF JV

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According to the press release, “Saudi Aramco and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) have agreed to formation of a joint venture related to the ongoing development of Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company (YASREF) Limited, formerly the Red Sea Refining Company.

Presided over by His Excellency, Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and chairman of the Saudi Aramco Board of Directors, leaders of the two companies — Khalid A. Al-Falih, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, and Fu Chengyu, chairman of the Sinopec Group – formally announced the agreement in Dhahran on Saturday.

The joint venture agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding between Saudi Aramco and Sinopec, signed in March 2011. Following Saturday’s JV agreement, Sinopec will hold equity interest of 37.5 percent in YASREF, with Saudi Aramco holding the remaining 62.5 percent.

The YASREF joint venture marks another significant phase of several progressing partnerships between Saudi Aramco and Sinopec across the hydrocarbon value chain in Saudi Arabia and in China. Saudi Aramco and Sinopec both bring significant knowledge and expertise to the joint venture, which represents the strengthening of their strategic partnership to enhance the trade of transportation fuels between a major energy producer and a major consumer. In-Kingdom refineries, such as the one being built by YASREF, possess the location advantage to supply domestic and international markets to the East and West.

“Our mutually progressing partnership with Sinopec has continued to flourish across the hydrocarbon value chain from crude oil supply to refining and petrochemicals in Fujian to YASREF today, and is a testimony of our continued efforts to enhance collaboration between the two companies,” Al-Falih said. “YASREF, being Sinopec’s first international downstream investment, will definitely strengthen further the longstanding bond between the two companies, and I am confident it will also yield mutual benefits for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the People’s Republic of China.

“YASREF is uniquely placed to seize market opportunities, and it demonstrates our unwavering commitment to significantly grow our downstream portfolio, and in creating win-win partnerships for us and our stakeholders,” Al-Falih added. “Among YASREF’s many contributions will be to provide training, employment and industrial and economic development opportunities for Saudi nationals and for the growth of local enterprises.”

“Sinopec and Saudi Aramco have enjoyed substantial cooperation in the fields of gas exploration, oil refining, oil trade, and engineering services. The implementation of this project will usher in a new chapter for Sinopec’s investment in refinery and petrochemical projects in Saudi Arabia,” Fu said. “It will also help to extend the strategic cooperation of the two companies in the petroleum and petrochemical value chain, and further strengthen the complementary strategic partnership of the two parties. Sinopec is very pleased to contribute to the already solid economic ties between China and Saudi Arabia, whilst furthering our commitment to social responsibility and the pursuit of green, low-carbon development.”

Sinopec has partnered with Saudi Aramco, along with ExxonMobil, in the Fujian Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited, and Sinopec SenMei (Fujian) Petroleum Company Limited in China’s Fujian Province, as well as with Sino Saudi Gas Limited, an in-Kingdom gas exploration company. Sinopec, the biggest Asian-owned refiner operating in Asia, is also Saudi Aramco’s largest crude oil buyer.”

Read more: Saudi Aramco Press Release

DENIED: Bank of England Refuses to Release Venezuelan Gold

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“Whoever has the gold makes the rules,” the King famously said in 1964’s comic strip, The Wizard of Id. England is proving the old truism to be accurate. Keynes’ “barbarous relic” is showing tremendous staying power in a world awash in cryptocurrencies and virtual wealth.

Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands have all repatriated gold reserves in recent years, and they can now count Venezuela among the countries attempting to do the same. Venezuela’s government made the decision to repatriate 14 tons of gold bars on the heels of U.S. sanctions. The custodian, the Bank of England, has refused to release the gold, worth a total sum of US$ 550 million, to Caracas. The British are citing anti-money laundering regulations. The specific concern is that Nicolas Maduro may personally seize the gold and use it for personal gain. Washington’s new rules for Venezuela target the country’s gold exports, based on reports of Maduro spending the country’s current precious metals illegally. Venezuela’s economy collapsed when oil revenue plunged. Supplies of food, medicine, and consumer staples were affected. Shortages and hyperinflation have resulted.

National Security Advisor to the United States, John Bolton, labeled Venezuela a member of a “troika of tyranny,” along with Cuba and Nicaragua. Bolton railed against the “triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua.” He called it “the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a sordid cradle of communism in the Western Hemisphere,” Cuba has been accused of assisting the Maduro government. “The Cuban military and intelligence agencies must not disproportionately profit from the United States, its people, its travelers, or its businesses,” Bolton declared. For its part, Nicaragua is in hot water due to a violent crisis that sprung up when President Daniel Ortega announced that there would be changes coming to Nicaragua’s social security system. The U.S. is pushing for free elections.

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RDIF and Makara Capital form Technology Company Investment Joint Venture

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The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Singapore-based Makara Capital, a specialist in transaction financing and asset management, signed a deal to form a US$ 200 million joint investment platform to finance breakthrough innovative projects in Russia and Asia. Ali Ijaz Ahmad, the CEO of Makara Capital, is a board director of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). Ali Ijaz Ahmad served as an adviser to Morgan Stanley and The Carlyle Group. He also had stints at the World bank and Goldman Sachs. Makara Capital was founded in 2005 as a joint venture with Credit Suisse AG and made independent by its founding partners in 2008.

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SVB Financial Group to Acquire Leerink Holdings

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Linking Boston to the San Francisco Bay Area in the world of pharmaceuticals, SVB Financial Group (SVB) announced that it has entered into a merger agreement to acquire Leerink Holdings LLC, the Boston-based parent company of Leerink Partners LLC, an investment bank focused on the healthcare and life science industries. Jeffrey A. Leerink formed Leerink in 1995. Santa Clara, California-based SVB Financial Group is the parent company of Silicon Valley Bank. SVB is big into life sciences and provides services to many healthcare companies and startups.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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