By Arab News
President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea decorated yesterday Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi with the Medal of Excellence for Diplomatic Service.
This which awarded to him by the South Korean government as an expression of the depth of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the South Korea, and in recognition of the roles being played by the minister in strengthening this relationship, especially in petroleum fields.
The decoration ceremony was held here today at the presidential palace where the South Korean President hosted a luncheon in honor of Al-Naimi and his accompanying delegation.
The South Korean president asked Minister Al-Naimi to convey his greetings and best wishes to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and the crown prince.
There was a discussion between the South Korean president and Al-Naimi, with the participation of the minister of knowledge economy in charge of the energy sector in South Korea, deputy minister of Foreign Trade of South Korea, and a number of senior South Korean officials.
During the meeting, the two sides discussed the situations of the world oil market, the distinguished bilateral relations in the fields of economy, trade, oil, and environmental issues.
The South Korean president thanked the Kingdom for its support to South Korea, to be the headquarters of Environment Fund.
Al-Naimi expressed his thanks to the South Korean government and President Lee Myung-bak for awarding him the medal which expresses the depth of the relationship between the two countries, which becomes closer with the passage of time, especially after the visit of King Abdullah to South Korea in 1998, as well as the presence of South Korean president as the guest of honor at Janadriyah National Festival for Heritage and Culture last year.
In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the meeting, Al-Naimi described trade and investment relations between the two countries as distinguished and they have been growing year after year, considering South Korea as one of the most important trading partners of the Kingdom.
He explained that there are mutual industrial investments in all sectors, indicating that South Korean companies are involved in the construction works in the Kingdom.
Al-Naimi considered South Korea as one of the four most important countries in the world that import Saudi oil, noting that South Korea imports from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia more than 800,000 barrels per day, which makes the Kingdom as the major supplier to South Korea, representing about 30 percent of the republic’s total oil imports from the world.
He said that Saudi Aramco Company has a joint venture in South Korea, which is considered as one of the company’s most successful projects abroad. This joint venture is S. Oil Company in which Saudi Aramco has 35 percent ownership and is managed by one of the staff members of Saudi Aramco. S. Oil Company owns a very sophisticated refinery with a capacity up to 670,000 barrels per day which uses Saudi oil.
The refinery produces various types of petroleum products, as well as aromatic petrochemical products and it has distribution stations and sells refined products in all parts of South Korea, and exports products to many countries.
The decoration ceremony and meeting were attended by Saudi Ambassador to South Korea Ahmed bin Younis Al-Barrak, adviser to the Minister Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, Director General of the Minister’s Special Office Ali Al-Tuwairqi, and President of S. Oil Company Nasser Al-Mahashir.