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Govt seeks Aramco, Adnoc backing for $44 billion oil refinery

Mahmoud Habboush, Tracy Alloway and Anthony DiPaol/Abu Dhabi 14 May 18 | 01:15 AM

Saudi Aramco | Photo: Reuters

India, the world’s fastest-growing oil market, is targeting support from both Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. for the Asian nation’s proposed $44 billion refinery, according to the Indian oil minister.

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Aramco, known officially as Saudi Arabian Oil Co., signed a memorandum of understanding last month to join the proposed Ratnagiri refinery and possibly take a 50 percent stake in the project. Abu Dhabi’s government-run Adnoc may also acquire some of Aramco’s share, Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.

“I am hopeful both Aramco and Adnoc will be our joint venture partner in the Ratnagiri refinery," Pradhan said in a Bloomberg Television interview Sunday in Abu Dhabi. “This is a process."

Adnoc Chief Executive Officer Sultan Al Jaber said in a separate TV interview that “the Indian opportunity is one of many opportunities that is currently being explored."

Like state-run Aramco, the world’s biggest oil exporter, Adnoc is seeking to strengthen ties with refineries in Asia to lock up market share in the region driving growth in global oil demand. India’s effort to secure supply for its refining industry led state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. and two other Indian companies in February to acquire a 10 percent stake in one of Abu Dhabi’s biggest offshore oil concessions.

The United Arab Emirates, including the sheikhdom of Abu Dhabi, holds about 6 percent of the world’s proven crude reserves. The UAE is already a major exporter of crude oil to India, Pradhan said.

Adnoc on Saturday announced a 2-million barrel cargo of oil destined for India’s strategic petroleum reserve, becoming the first foreign company to invest in the facility. Adnoc intends to store 5.86 million barrels of crude at the Karnataka facility, it said in a statement.

“UAE’s Adnoc crude oil will be stored in India’s land," Pradhan said. “We are moving toward a more strategic relationship."

ADNOC plans $45 bn investment

ADNOC plans to invest $45 billion over the next five years to expand its refining and petrochemicals operations, it said on Sunday. Striving to become a global player in the downstream sector, the state oil giant wants to double its refining capacity and triple petrochemicals output potential by 2025 as it looks to capture new growth markets, ADNOC's Chief Executive Sultan al-Jaber told Reuters on Saturday. 

The centrepiece of ADNOC's strategy is the Ruwais industrial complex, which ADNOC wants to turn into the largest integrated refining and petrochemicals complex in the world.

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