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Asia Pulse: SAUDI ARAMCO TO LIFT SHOWA SHELL STAKE TO 15%

Asia Pulse: SAUDI ARAMCO TO LIFT SHOWA SHELL STAKE TO 15%

21 June 2005

TOKYO, June 21 Asia Pulse – Showa Shell Sekiyu KK (TSE:5002) will as early as Tuesday accept a contract with Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco, that raises the Middle Eastern state-owned firm’s interest from 10 per cent to 15 per cent.

Through the increase, Saudi Arabia aims to bolster its ties with Japan, the biggest purchaser of its crude oil. The stronger relationship will also enable Showa Shell to procure oil more securely than competitors.

Last year, Saudi Aramco bought a Showa Shell stake of about 10 per cent from the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, which owned half of the Japanese firm. Since then, the Saudi company had intended to buy an additional interest of 5 per cent this fiscal year to hike its ownership to 15 per cent.

To help deepen their ties, a Saudi Aramco executive has been sitting on Showa Shell’s board since the end of March.

(Nikkei)

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