Saudi Aramco signs $44B deal to build giant Indian refinery

Indian Consortium and Saudi Aramco Sign MoU for Ratnagiri Mega Refinery in Maharashtra			 0					By		Aruna Sharma

Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, has inked a Rs 3-lakh crore deal with India to develop a mega refinery complex at the western coast in Maharashtra.

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals, a consortium consisting of IOC, HPCL and BPCL.

"This project illustrates our strategy of maximizing the integration of our large refining and petrochemical platforms and of expanding our petrochemical operations from low-priced feedstock, to take advantage of the fast growing Asian polymer market", said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total.

The deal comes less than 24 hours after Saudi Aramco signed an agreement with French oil company Total to build a "giant" petrochemical complex in Saudi Arabia for about $5 billion.

Aramco said previous year that it would invest $18 billion in Motiva to expand the refinery and move into petrochemical production.

The refining project will go a long way towards ensuring favorable crude oil supplies and will serve as partial fulfillment of India's earlier promise to increase its refinery capacity by 77 percent to 8.8 million barrels per day by 2030.

But there is no full stop yet in India for Saudi Aramco as it is "very much interested" in entering the fuel retailing business here and scout for other investment opportunities.

While investment details are not yet clear, the deal once completed will compete with Russian major Rosneft's $10-billion acquisition of Essar group's refinery and BP's $7 billion deal for stake in Reliance Industries Ltd's upstream assets for the biggest foreign investment slot in Indian oil sector.

The project includes a 1.2-million-barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery integrated with petrochemical facilities with a total capacity of 18 million tonnes per year, the officials said on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum.

The coalition has launched thousands of air strikes which have hit schools, markets and hospitals, killing hundreds of people - though it says it does not target civilians.

India-the world's third largest oil consumer-has been pushing for reasonable crude oil pricing from The Kingdom. "We will only list when the market is right", he said. Iraq displaced Saudi Arabia for the first time on an annual basis in 2017, data compiled by Reuters showed.

The partnership is expected to bring together crude supply, resources, technologies, experience, and expertise of the four oil companies into the mega refinery project.

Nasser said he was not anxious by rising supplies from regional rivals to India.

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