RIL and Saudi Aramco had been in negotiations on the possibility of developing a grassroots integrated refinery with a capacity of at least 400,000 barrels a day (b/d), as well as an ethane/naphtha cracker, an aromatics complex and related downstream products. A probable site for the complex was Jubail industrial city 2 in the Eastern Province.

However, RIL is no longer pursuing the estimated $8,000 million scheme. ‘The project will not be happening, at least not for the next two years, as we will find it difficult to commit taking on such a major responsibility,’ Chandra said. ‘We will be spreading our resources too thin, due to our domestic commitments.’

For similar reasons, RIL had also declined an invitation from Algeria’s Sonatrach to submit bids on 15 April to take a 35 per cent equity position in a new project company to build and own a 300,000-b/d refinery at Tiaret. RIL was one of the five companies prequalified to bid for the estimated $3,000 million-4,000 million project (see page 11).

RIL is working on a $6,000 million expansion of the Jamnagar refinery in western India. ‘We will be adding 580,000 b/d of capacity to the existing facility of 660,000 b/d. On completion in 2008/09, it will be the largest refining complex in the world,’ he said.

However, the refiner is committed to establishing its first regional downstream presence at Ras Issa in Yemen. ‘We are on the verge of taking a final investment decision for taking at least a 25 per cent stake in the project company, in addition to management control,’ Chandra said.

RIRC is planning a 60,000-b/d grassroots refinery on the Red Sea. The plant’s product slate will include gasoline, high-speed diesel, aviation turbine fuel, kerosene, benzene and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG – MEED 16:9:05).