Saudi Aramco seeks share of pie in Ratnagiri mega-refinery
Oil giant Saudi Aramco is keen on holding exclusive talks to buy a stake in the world's biggest refinery-cum-petrochemical complex that India plans to build in Maharashtra at a cost of $40 billion.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said Khalid A Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and chairman of Saudi Aramco, during his meeting in Vienna last month expressed interest in taking a stake in the 60 million tonne(mt)refinery and 10-12 mt petrochemical complex."He was very categorical that Saudi Aramco is very keen to partner in the mega refinery from the very start," he said after state-owned oil firms IOC, BPCL and HPCL signed a joint venture agreement to set up the mega complex. Saudi Aramco had previously been interested in new greenfield refineries set up in India but none of the interests materialised in investments.
The world's biggest oil producer was interested in the 9 mt Bhatinda refinery but exited the project in 1998. Thereafter, the refinery was set up by HPCL in joint venture with steel baron Lakshmi N Mittal.
Saudi Aramco had also initially shown interest in IOC's 15 mt Paradip refinery in Odisha but walked out of the project in 2006. The Indian Oil Corp (IOC) set up the refinery on its own thereafter. Pradhan was, however, confident that Saudi Aramco was serious this time around.
Besides Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc) has also shown interest in taking a stake in the project.