Saudi Aramco eyes stake in Indian downstream complex

19 March 2018
Refinery will be built on the west coast in Maharashtra state

Saudi Aramco is reportedly seeking majority ownership of a proposed mega refinery and petrochemical complex on India’s western coast.

Aramco is engaged in negotiations with Indian state firms over its participation in the 60 million tonnes-a-year refinery to be built in Maharashtra state.

The Saudi oil giant is looking for guarantees that the $46bn facility mostly use Saudi crude in return for rights over entire fuel and petrochemicals produced at the complex, according to a local media report.

Indian Oil Corporation currently owns 50 per cent of the world’s biggest greenfield refinery project, with the balance stake being equally split between Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.

The state-run firms are seeking a strategic investor and have been talking to Aramco for several months, the report said. The Indian government was unlikely to pass on to Aramco the majority stake  in the project to be built in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, off the Arabian Sea coast.

India, the third-largest oil importer in the world, is a key market for Saudi Arabia, the biggest exporter of crude in the world. Saudi Arabia is now however India’s second biggest crude oil supplier, having lost to the top position to Iraq in 2017.

Aramco, which is planning a stock listing and aiming for a $2tn valuation, hopes to obtain a slice of the growing Indian downstream business in order to grow its strategic assets and value ahead of the initial public offering (IPO).

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