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India ready to give Saudi Aramco 50% stake in planned mega refinery

11 April, 2018, 17:37 | Author: Arnold Gilbert
  • Aramco eyes new petchem plant in Texas

New Delhi:The world's biggest oil producer, Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Saudi Aramco, will partner with a consortium of Indian state-run companies to set up the largest global refinery and petrochemical complex at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra at an investment of $44 billion.

The proposed refinery will be capable of processing 1.2m barrels of crude oil per day and provide feedstock for the integrated petrochemical complex, which will have about 18m tonnes/year in capacity.

The plant will be one of the largest refining and petrochemical complexes in the world, built to meet fast-growing fuel and petrochemicals demand in India and elsewhere, and providing a steady outlet for Saudi crude oil.

The parties will invest around US$5 billion in this project, while another US$4 billion investment by third-party investors will come from other petrochemical and specialty chemical plants that the cracker will feed.

"Saudi Aramco will initially assume 50 per cent, but we have the option of introducing another worldwide partner if it is in the interest of the project".

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia - which is said to be aiming for oil near $80 to pay for its own crowded policy agenda - is planning to sign a deal to participate in a refinery on India's west coast as part of its strategy to secure sources of consumption for its crude.

"That's something we're evaluating, we're studying for in the future", he said.

During his previous visit here in February, Al-Falih had said Aramco is also looking to buy stake in existing Indian refineries and in their capacity expansion.

The world's biggest oil producer Saudi Aramco opened its Asia office here past year.

But Motiva wants to first move into petrochemicals, using abundant natural gas from USA shale fields to make the precursors for plastics, the sources said.

The development also assumes significance in the backdrop of a supply cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec)-of which Saudi Arabia is a prominent member-and Russian Federation triggering a rally in global oil price. Previous year it opened an office in New Delhi.

Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) had incorporated their joint venture firm called Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals Limited (RRPCL) for the project.

India outlined plans in February to expand its refining capacity by 77 percent to about 8.8 million bpd by 2030.

"Investing in India is a key part of our company's global downstream strategy, and another milestone in our growing relationship with India", said Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser, who also noted the opening in 2017 of Aramco Asia's New Delhi office with a mandate to expand Saudi Aramco's worldwide portfolio in this key economic growth region.

Saudi Arabia is competing with Iraq to be India's top oil supplier.

Asked what took Saudi Aramco so long to invest in India, he said, "We never looked away from India".

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