|Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil exporter, on Wednesday said it was in talks with Reliance Industries and other Indian firms to invest in petrochemicals and refinery projects in the country.|
“India is an investment priority for Saudi Aramco. There is a lot of growth potential. We are looking at additional investments in India. We are in discussions with other companies as well, including Reliance Industries,” Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority’s Saudi Forum meet.
Reliance Industries, the country’s biggest refining and petrochemicals company running a 1.4-million-barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery, plans to expand the capacity to 2 million bpd by 2030, according to plans shared with the government.
“India is looking for stronger ties with Saudi,” Sanjiv Singh, chairman of India Oil Corporation, said.
On the fate of the 60-million-tonne-a-year refinery project, which the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra agreed to shift from Ratnagiri district following land acquisition problems, Nasser said, “We remain positive on our investment in India and are working with our partners, and they are assuring us that things are going very well. I think if there is any delay, we can catch up. All we hear lately is that things are progressing well and we should be optimistic about it going forward.”
He said Saudi Aramco continues to stay invested in the project, agreements for which were signed last year.
B. Ashok, the CEO of Ratnagiri Refinery, said the project was on time, despite land acquisition hurdles.
“We have an assurance from the Maharashtra government that we will be allotted land on the west coast, when we require it. The project is on time to be commissioned by 2025,” he said.
Saudi Aramco is also keen on retailing fuel in India. A refinery in India can also be a base for it to export fuel to deficit countries in Europe and the Americas.
India has a refining capacity of 247.6 million tonnes.
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority announced the signing of four investment agreements worth more than $28 million and 11 memorandum of understandings at the forum.
The MoUs cover partnerships across strategic sectors, including energy and water, technology, arts and entertainment, healthcare, trade and investment.