Nath invites GCC oil companies to set up facilities in India

Mumbai, May 29 | Updated: May 30 2007, 05:30am hrs
Commerce minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday invited oil companies from GCC countries to set up their facilities in India as it would not only add a new dimension to India-GCC trade but also help in enhancing capacities. In his keynote address at the third India-GCC Investment Conference here, Nath informed that India was also looking at providing refining services to the Gulf.

Moreover, Nath said there was a potential for investment by companies from GCC countries in LNG terminals as India was a gas-deficit country. Besides, GCC companies can also explore investment options in the power sector as the country has planned capacity addition of 1,00,000 mw in the next 10 years.

"There are obvious synergies between India and the Gulf. The GCC countries comprising Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Baharain, Kuwait, Qatar continue to be a major supplier of oil to India, meeting almost two-thirds of our oil requirements. We should also look at partnership in areas that go beyond just oil. Infrastructure is one area where India offers immense opportunities for investment. We have estimated the requirement of infrastructure sector to be $320 billion in the next five years," Nath informed.

According to Nath, GCC countries can also tap investment opportunities in food processing and packaging, automobiles and auto components, IT and IT-enabled services and pharmaceuticals.

"I invite investors from the GCC countries to make the most of the opportunities that India provides by entering into joint ventures, collaborations and partnerships in different sectors. There is a political will on both sides to take India-GCC trade to the next higher level of engagement and now the onus is on the trade and investment community to translate this will into a reality that augurs well for both sides," Nath noted.

He admitted that there was scope for further improvement in certain deficient areas such as infrastructure, taxation procedures, legal procedures and labour market.

Saudi Arabian commerce minister Hashim Yamani said GCC countries desired to develop a strategic partnership with India to develop knowledge-based sectors of their economies. The revenue from oil and gas of GCC countries would exceed $1 trillion during the current decade and is expected to reach $3 trillion in the next three decades.

"This will provide ample investment opportunities to most GCC trading partners, including India," he added. Oman commerce minister Maqbool Ali Sultan said Oman Oil Company has already initiated talks with Indian companies for investments in oil and fertilisers sectors. Besides, Omani companies have been holding talks with Tata group and Birla group for JVs.