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Last Updated Friday March 23 2018 02:23 PM IST

Indian refineries may soon see Aramco investments

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Petrol price cut Aramco is also looking at other opportunities to buy into existing refineries in India as well as upgrades of existing refineries.

New Delhi: Saudi state-run oil giant Aramco is interested in pitching stake purchase in existing Indian refineries and in their capacity expansion, as well as in the proposed petrochemicals refinery on India's west coast, Saudi Arabian energy minister Khalid bin Abdulaziz al-Falih said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters here during his ongoing official visit to India, Al-Falih said Aramco had already signed an agreement to initiate talks for acquiring stake in the proposed Rs 1.8 lakh crore refinery in Maharashtra.

"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 which I cannot reveal more specifics," said the Saudi minister, who also looks after the industry and mineral resources portfolios.

"Agreements have been already signed that allows discussions to start on the configuration of the (west coast) refinery, on design basis and pre-feasibility studies," he said.

"One is the greenfield west coast refinery, which is already public, but there are discussions with expansions as well as buying stake into major existing refinery assets. All of these are illustrated commitments by the Kingdom and the company to be not only a supplier, but an investor in India at an unmatched scale," he added.

According to Al-Falih, "India is open for partnership, open for business, we welcome that, we welcome prime minister (Narendra) Modi's pro-business environment, we believe in it, we believe its here to stay and have told Aramco team to assign zero political and regulatory risk to India and treat it as part of Saudi Arabia."

Regarding the quantum of stake in the west coast refinery proposed to be bought by Aramco, the minister said: "The more the better. But certainly we are not constrained by capital, and we are not constrained by feed stock, and we are not constrained by size."

Queried on Aramco's interest in fuel retailing in India, Al-Falih said the company is agreeable "in principle".

"But I will leave that to Aramco downstream organizations to look at. I'm not used to the complexities," he added.

Following a meeting here Friday with the Saudi minister, Indian Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said that both the west coast refinery and the planned Rs 33,000 crore petrochemical complex in Andhra Pradesh had figured in the discussions.

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