China-based steel manufacturer Baoshan Iron and Steel has signed agreements with Saudi Arabia’s petroleum and natural gas company Saudi Aramco and Public Investment Fund (PIF) to construct a full-process thick plate facility in Saudi Arabia, reported China Daily.

Baoshan subsidiary Baowu Steel Group will own a 50% share of the joint venture, while Saudi Aramco and PIF will each own 25%.

The joint venture plans to build a steelmaking production base in Saudi Arabia with an estimated yearly capacity of 2.5 million tonnes (mt) of direct reduced iron and 1.5mt of steel plate.

The project is subject to regulatory approval.

Baosteel expects to have this project operational by the end of 2026, reported Reuters.

The project will include a direct reduced iron furnace and an electric arc furnace powered by natural gas, which is expected to minimise carbon dioxide emissions by more than 60% compared with the blast-furnace-based steelmaking process.

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The project is part of Baosteel’s efforts to build quality infrastructure in line with the Belt and Road initiative.

The three firms anticipate this to be a model project for Chinese-Saudi economic cooperation.

In March 2023, Saudi Aramco and its Chinese JV partners, Norinco Group and Panjin Xincheng Industrial Group, signed an agreement to develop an oil refinery and petrochemical facility in north-east China. The project is expected to cost around $12.2bn.