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India, Saudi Aramco Shake Hands for $44Bln Mega Refinery-Petrochem Project

12 April 2018

Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, on Wednesday signed an agreement to pick up 50 per cent stake in a planned Dollars 44-billion refinery-cum-petrochemical project in Maharashtra, a move that will give it an assured customer for additional 30 million tonnes of its crude oil.

Asked about Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation looking to extending a short-term pact to curb oil supplies with a view to check prices, he said, "We believe that whatever we are doing is part of long-term responsibility".

Saudi Aramco may have shot itself in the foot by unexpectedly increasing the price of its crude oil to Asia, with a major Chinese refiner responding by sharply cutting back on the volume of cargoes from the world's top exporter.

The refinery will have a capacity of 1.2 mbl per day of crude oil or 60 mmtpa.

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"This project will enable us to strengthen our ties with Saudi Aramco, with whom we successfully operate our biggest and most efficient refinery in the world", Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné said in the statement.

The project would bring huge benefits to the region, the State of Maharashtra and the entire country in terms of large-scale employment generation, direct and indirect, as well as all-round economic development of the region.

Aramco will hold a 50% stake in the project, he told reporters on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in New Delhi.

"What we have seen at the beginning of this year from foreign investor participation and the cash inflows and the number of registered QFIs in the market, gives us a very comfortable state", Hussan said.

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State oil giant Saudi Aramco earlier announced deals with major French companies including Total, Technip and Suez. But unlike Dubai, Riyadh's shows will not be open to camera, and the attendees will be women only.

"Investing in India is a key part of our company's global downstream strategy, and another milestone in our growing relationship with India", said Aramco president Nasser. Aramco may introduce at a later stage another strategic partner to share its 50% stake, the reports added.

"What is left is are we going to list outside, and if we are going to list outside, where", said Jadaan.

India outlined plans in February to expand its refining capacity by 77 per cent to 8.8 million bpd by 2030.

The company is further strengthening its refining role in China, one of its biggest oil customers. Thereafter, the refinery was set up by HPCL in joint venture with steel baron Lakshmi N Mittal.

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What's left unsaid is that this move will give Saudi Arabia a new outlet for its oil. Iraq displaced Saudi Arabia for the first time on an annual basis in 2017, data compiled by Reuters showed.

India, Saudi Aramco Shake Hands for $44Bln Mega Refinery-Petrochem Project