Mega refinery: India says ready to offer stake to Saudi Arabia

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Mumbai | Updated: June 6, 2016 11:26:35 PM

India today said it has offered Saudi Arabia a stake in the mega oil refinery and petrochemicals project proposed in coastal Maharashtra at an estimated cost of Rs 1.5 trillion.

Maha refinery, oil and petroleum, Saudi ArabiaThe minister parried questions about Saudi Arabia’s response and also how much equity the government was willing to offer.

India today said it has offered Saudi Arabia a stake in the mega oil refinery and petrochemicals project proposed in coastal Maharashtra at an estimated cost of Rs 1.5 trillion.

“Recently, I met Saudi officials with an offer of a stake in the proposed mega refinery project in Maharashtra, for which we have already appointed Engineers India as the PMC (project management consultants).

“We have also finalised the contours of the special purpose vehicle that will carry out this large project,” Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters after launching a road-show for auctioning 46 small oil and gas fields to prospective investors.

The minister parried questions about Saudi Arabia’s response and also how much equity the government was willing to offer.

The statement assumes significance as the minister had last week said that Saudi Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia, which is also the world’s largest oil and gas company in terms of reserves and output, is keen to enter the domestic oil distribution market.

It is also a sign of the growing bilateral ties between New Delhi and Riyadh.

On December 28 last year, Pradhan had sprung a surprise by asking the three state-run oil refiners — IndianOil, BPCL and HPCL — to get ready to set up the largest refining and petrochemicals complex in the public sector before 2017-end on the west coast of Maharashtra with an investment of Rs 1.5 trillion.

The minister said work on the 60-million tonne project (40 MT in the first phase and 20 MT in the second phase) will begin once the Maharashtra government identifies and acquires the land.

Maharashtra will also be an equity partner in the project, apart from IndianOil, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation.

However, details of the equity ownership are yet to be worked out.

Pradhan had said that global oil major Total was also keen on tapping the domestic retail fuel market.

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