Millennium Post

Saudi Aramco, Adnoc join hands for Indian oil market

New Delhi: In a major move, world's largest oil producer ARAMCO and UAE's national oil company ADNOC jointly participated in petroleum marketing business in India by signing an MoU for Ratnagiri refinery-cum petrochemical project in Maharashtra on Monday here.

They also signed an MoU with the country's three major oil marketing firms—Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum (BPC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPC)—to be part of the Rs 3 trillion West Coast refinery and petrochemicals project.

Reportedly, both the foreign companies will jointly hold 50 per cent stake in the proposed refinery, while Indian companies will hold the remaining.

Speaking on this occasion, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, "This MoU is in continuation of the MoU entered between Saudi ARAMCO and RRPCL and the three oil marketing companies—IOCL, BPCL and HPCL—signed in April on the sidelines of the 16th International Energy Forum Ministerial Meeting in the presence of my colleague Minister and friend Khalid Al Falih. Today, we have been joined by ADNOC as another partner in this mega project."

The 60 million tonne RRPCL in Maharashtra is likely to be ready by 2022, the Indian government assured. Meanwhile, the centre also assured that it is trying to address the concerns surrounding as one of the allies of ruling BJP, Shiv Sena had vowed that it would not allow the setting up of the refinery project. The oil minister further avouched that he would meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to discuss the concerns of protesters.

The strategic partnership further would bring together crude supply, resources, technologies, experience and expertise of these multiple oil companies with an established commercial presence around the world, the minister asserted.

Additionally, ADNOC expressed interest in acquiring a stake in the second phase of Padur strategic oil reserves. The second phase of the project is around 2.5 MT. In the month of February ADNOC had signed a contract with India to fill 0.75 MT of space in the Mangalore strategic oil reserves cavern."Saudi Arabia has always been a trusted and reliable supplier of crude for India and a key element of India's energy security. With the UAE too we have an investment in India's strategic reserves programme. The first crude consignment to fill the Mangalore SPR was received last month.

Our companies—IOCL, OVL and BPRL have invested in Lower Zakhum offshore oil field in February this year and I am happy that the first crude consignment from this investment also reached Mangalore on June 8," Pradhan further mentioned.

Pradhan assured that once the refinery gets ready, it will process 1.2 million barrels of crude oil per day and will produce approximately 18 MT of petrochemical products per year.

The government is planning to acquire at least 15,000 acres of land near Babulwadi in Ratnagiri district for the project touted as the world's largest refinery.

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