• Saudi Aramco plans to invest across India’s energy value chain

    State-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Saudi Aramco) plans to invest across India’s energy value chain and partner with domestic companies for the same, said senior vice president downstream Mohammed Y. Qahtani at the world’s biggest oil producer on Thursday.

    “Our vision is to invest across the value chain in India, and partner with Indian companies in this endeavor,” Qahtani said at the CERAWeek 5th India Energy Forum, according to a statement from Saudi Aramco.

    “As you know, Aramco is significantly strengthening its downstream business, to better complement our long-standing pre-eminence in upstream. And chemicals, especially, offer us a strategic opportunity,” he added in the statement.

    This comes against the backdrop of Mukesh Ambani controlled Reliance Industries Ltd announcing its plans in June to formalize its partnership with Saudi Aramco by the end of 2021. “Aramco is proud to be a key supplier of the energy that is fuelling Indian prosperity,” he said in the statement.

    India, the world’s third largest oil importer, has requested the Opec-plus grouping dominated by Saudi Arabia to up production. With the Opec cartel accounting for the majority of India’s crude oil imports, and around 40% of global production, any increase in production will help soothe the global crude oil markets. Amin Nasser, president and chief executive office (CEO) of Saudi Aramco was part of the virtual meeting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi held with the bosses of global oil companies on Wednesday.

    “Our goal is to build a chemicals business that is a global leader, on par with our leading position in oil. Our acquisition of a 70% stake in SABIC has been key … allowing us to offer one-stop integrated solutions from crude oil supplies, refined products and chemicals, to lubricants and advanced non-metallic materials,” Qahtani said.

    Saudi Aramco has also partnered with Indian state-run oil companies for setting up the world’s largest oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Ratnagiri. The project has hit the skids, after protests from farmers and Shiv Sena, which is in power in Maharashtra with its alliance partners. “And we are accelerating our investments in large integrated refining/ petrochemicals manufacturing complexes … especially in large markets like India,” he said.

    India’s plans to grow its refining capacity to 400 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by 2025 from the present installed capacity of 249.36 mtpa through 23 refineries. Instead of setting up the controversial ₹3 trillion Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (RRPCL) at a single location in Maharashtra, the Union government is now exploring a plan to set up multiple small-size refineries and is looking for sites in Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as reported by Mint earlier.

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