Saudi Arabia has big plans for India's energy sector

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  • At an energy conference in New Delhi on 15 October, Khalid A Al-Falih, the chairman of Saudi Aramco, announced plans to invest in India’s downstream petroleum sector.
  • Al-Falih explained that a number of segments were being considered such as petrochemicals, refining, crude oil storage and retail sales as well as solar energy.
  • At the same conference, India’s PM Narendra Modi also sat down with ministers and chief executives of oil companies and sought a review of payment terms for crude oil supplies.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producing nation, is preparing a slew of investments in India’s energy sector. At an energy conference in New Delhi organised by IHS Markit yesterday, Khalid A Al-Falih, the chairman of Saudi Aramco, announced plans to invest in India’s downstream petroleum sector.

Al-Falih explained that a number of segments were being considered such as petrochemicals, refining, crude oil storage and retail petroleum as well as solar energy He added that Saudi Arabia’s largest mining company, Maaden, was looking to make inroads into India’s fertiliser industry, specifically the production of phosphate fertiliser.

His plans were echoed by his counterpart in the UAE, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the chairman of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), who said that the company was assessing a range of potential pipeline projects in India.

Earlier this year, in July, Saudi Aramco and ADNOC decided to join hands on a $44 billion refinery project in Ratnagiri, which is in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The two state-backed oil producers are taking a 50% stake in the project, which is expected to produce 1.2 million barrels per day, while the other half will be owned by a consortium of Indian refiners such as IOC and BPCL.

A review of oil payment conditions


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also sat down with the ministers and chief executives of oil companies at the conference. In addition to Al-Falih and Jaber, the meeting was attended by the CEOs of Russia’s Rosneft, the world’s largest listed oil producer by output, British Petroleum and Pioneer Natural Resources.

Given the impact of rising oil prices on the rupee and India’s trade deficit, his motivations were clear. He sought a review of the pricing terms with major oil suppliers - which would include paying for imports in rupees - and encouraged a rise in global output through commercial exploration by OPEC nations in developing countries as a means to keep prices in check. Saudi Arabia is one of the largest suppliers of oil to India.
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