Saudi Aramco, world's largest oil exporter, is looking to invest in refineries and petrochemical projects in India, Amin H Nasser, the CEO of state-owned Saudi Arabian petroleum giant said on Monday. Nasser said the move is focused on expanding buyer-seller ties to a strategic partnership.
The company is looking at projects like the planned Rs 2.7- lakh crore west coast refinery and just-completed petrochemical project of ONGC for investment, Nasser said.
"I am convinced that the world’s fastest growing energy consumer and the world’s largest, lowest cost and most reliable oil supplier, must elevate their relationship to a much higher plane," he said at the India Energy Forum here.
Saudi Aramco is determined to reflect our expanding and diversifying business portfolio by creating a fully integrated business here in India, he said.
The investments will span the entire value chain, covering everything from oil supply, refining, and marketing to manufacturing of petrochemicals and lubes, he said. "I also mean collaboration in energy manufacturing and services, as well as R&D and technology."
Nasser said this would be backed by investment in India's flourishing energy market, joint ventures and by leveraging the country’s talent has in IT, petroleum and evolving technologies.
"In the Indian energy sector in general, we are looking at renewables, petrochemicals. We are looking at collaborating. Our colleagues will be visiting soon," he later told reporters.
Saudi Aramco is looking at investment opportunities overseas and India is an area of huge interest because of its size, he said adding that he sees huge potential for growth
Petrochemicals, he said, is a sector with a lot of potential in India. "We are seeing expansions in chemicals and capacity in refining in addition to lubes, definitely India is a huge market and we are looking at partnerships with Indian companies."
He said Aramco would have serious discussions with Indian companies on joint ventures and collaborations.
"I am very optimistic about our plans in India. We are looking at mega investments in India because it’s an important market. You are buying about 4.6 million barrels of oil a day, petrochemical industry is booming, industrialisation is picking up because of Make in India campaign," he said.
India, he said, has all the signs of a prosperous economy that is on the move, that will be second to China by 2050. This is a market of investment priority and not a choice anymore.
The country has been on Aramco's radar for long time.
On Sunday, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated Saudi Aramco’s office in Gurugram jointly with Al-Nasser. The company operates in India through its subsidiary ARAMCO Asia India (AAI) and established its formal business presence in the country in 2016.
"We have expanded our office even though we don't have any investment or joint venture yet but it is area we will be entering. We are working with so many partners now," he said.
Saudi Arabia is the second largest supplier of crude to India after Iraq and it accounts for about 19 per cent of crude oil imports and also 29 per cent of LPG imports. In 2016-17, India imported about 39.5 MMT of crude from Saudi Arabia.
PM Modi sees scope for further reforms in energy sector
Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday met CEOs of top global and Indian energy firms to explore ways to raise domestic output and cut imports. He said that there is scope for further reforms in the country's energy sector.
Chief executives of firms ranging from BP Plc of the UK to Russia's Rosneft, Exxon Mobil, Saudi Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell flew in specially for a three-hour meeting with the PM.
The CEOs suggested including natural gas and electricity in the GST regime to make these competitive.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told the gathering that the liberalised India offers around USD 300 billion investment opportunity in the next 10 years in the oil and gas sector.
(With PTI inputs)