Your Excellency, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of Aramco, it is my privilege and pleasure to welcome you to this historic ground-breaking ceremony.
We are deeply honored to be joined by His Excellency, President Yoon.
The state-of-the-art petrochemicals complex that will rise on this site in the coming months is historic for a number of reasons. For starters, when complete it is expected to be one of the largest integrated refining petrochemical steam crackers in the world.
For Aramco, Shaheen is also the single biggest investment we have made in Korea to date, far exceeding the more than $4 billion that was invested in phase one. And this development represents a significant and sizeable step forward in our strategy to expand our liquids-to-chemicals business.
For us, this complex is also historic because it is the first large-scale, commercial deployment of Aramco's thermal crude-to-chemicals technology. Technology that aims to increase chemical yield with less energy intensity.
When completed in 2026, this complex will produce a number of important by-products that are the building blocks for thousands of items that millions of people around the world need in their daily lives.
In other words, once this complex is up and running, it will help showcase another step in the global energy transition to a lower-carbon future through more efficient and more sustainable production processes.
As you have heard, Shaheen also aims to have significant and highly positive economic effects in terms of jobs created as well as economic value generated.
Now, I should add that our decision to invest $7 billion in Ulsan at this time and on this project was based on a number of factors.
First and foremost is the fact that the global petrochemical landscape is evolving rapidly and growth in demand is expected to accelerate. And while future trends typically dictate such decisions, our past history of success with S-Oil was also a key consideration.
Indeed, Aramco sees S-Oil as a model of operational excellence. In the more than 30 years since Aramco made its initial investment in S-Oil, the company has grown to become a world-class integrated refining and chemicals producer.
Korea is also an excellent place to do business due to the welcoming nature of this country, the pragmatic approach of policymakers here and the innovation demonstrated by Korean industry and by the people of Korea.
The close relationship that exists between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Korea was another contributing factor.
As you know, our countries have a relationship that spans decades, all the way back to the first shipment of Saudi crude oil to Korea in 1969. A relationship that today goes well beyond oil, refining and petrochemicals.
A relationship that now includes hydrogen, with the world's first commercial shipment of blue ammonia arriving here from Saudi Arabia last December.
And it is a relationship that has turned into a partnership, which continues to grow, with further collaborations expected in multiple sectors from advanced industries to logistics to smart cities.
Simply put, as this project we are breaking ground for today clearly illustrates, we have a relationship that has and continues to be truly mutually beneficial.
And for this, we say: Gamsahamnida.
Once again, we are also extremely honored to have Your Excellency at this event today.