Saudi Aramco is seeking to buy a stake in existing Indian refineries and expansion projects, as well as the planned giant refinery on India’s west coast, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih has said.

The company has signed an agreement to initiate talks for a possible stake in the proposed $28bn refinery in the western state of Maharashtra, Al-Falih told journalists in New Delhi during a two-day trip to India.

“Agreements have already been signed that allow discussions to start on the configuration of the refinery [in Maharashtra], on design basis and pre-feasibility studies,” he was quoted as saying in media reports.

“Aramco is also looking at other opportunities to buy into existing refineries in India, as well as upgrades of existing refineries. So, there are at least three different tracks [Aramco is pursuing], specifics of which I cannot reveal. One is the greenfield west coast refinery, which is already public, but there are discussions with expansions, as well as buying a stake in major existing refinery assets,” Al-Falih said.

India’s oil minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, stated that the Maharashtra refinery and a planned $5bn petrochemicals complex in southeastern Andhra Pradesh state featured during his discussions with Al-Falih.

MEED previously reported that Aramco is seeking to establish a downstream unit in India, and has been in talks with Indian players for joint projects.

Saudi Aramco was interested in new greenfield refineries in India, but none of those have materialised in the state oil giant’s investments.

Saudi Arabia is India’s second-biggest oil supplier after Iraq, meeting a little less than a fifth of the country’s needs.

This article has been unlocked to allow non-subscribers to sample MEED’s content for FREE. MEED provides exclusive news, data and analysis about the Middle East every day. Subscribe to MEED to have full access to Middle East business intelligence. Click here