Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, has announced a $44-billion deal to build a giant refinery complex on the west coast of India. According to reports, a deal has been signed between Saudi Aramco with a consortium of Indian refiners to build a refinery and petrochemicals project in Maharashtra along India’s west coast. Reports say the deal has been done aiming to secure buyers. The project includes around 1.2 million-barrels-per-day (BPD) refinery integrated with petrochemical facilities with a total capacity of 18 million tonnes per year, the officials said on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum. The deal was signed among top executives of Aramco and India’s Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals which is a joint venture of Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp, and Bharat Petroleum Corp. All the concerned parties have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to take equal stakes in the project in Maharashtra.

The latest deal by Saudi Aramco is a part of its expansion globally to boost the capacity of existing plants to meet public demand. Speaking on the deal, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said, “Large as this project may be, it does not by itself satisfy our desire to invest in India … We see India as a priority for investments and for our crude supplies. We’re very much interested in retail … We want to be consumer-facing.” Reports say that the at least 50% of the crude oil will be processed at the planned refinery which will be supplied by Aramco.

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Meanwhile, Aramco may also introduce a strategic partner to share 50% stake. Aramco Chief Executive Amir Nasser said they have somebody in mind and that they will announce that in due course. The oil producing company last year opened its office in New Delhi and is aiming to focus on rising markets for its growth.

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