Saudi Arabia’s National Oil Company, Saudi Aramco, is in discussions with India’s private sector refiner Reliance Industries Ltd and others for expanding its business here. 

Saudi Aramco CEO, Amin Al Nasser, said, “India is an investment priority for Saudi Aramco. There is a lot of growth potential. We are looking at additional investments in India. We are in discussions with other companies as well, including Reliance Industries.”

MoUs and pacts

He was speaking at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority’s (SAGIA) Saudi Forum. SAGIA also announced the signing of four investment agreements worth more than $28 million and 11 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) at the Saudi-India Forum. The announcements cover a range of partnerships across strategic growth sectors, including energy and water, technology, arts and entertainment, healthcare, trade and investment.

Stating that Saudi Arabia was happy with India’s growing energy demand, he pointed out that “800,000 barrels is exported by Saudi Aramco to India. We remain positive on our investment in India and we are working with our partners and they are assuring us that things are going very well”.

“I think if there is any delay, we can catch up. All we hear lately is that things are progressing well and we should be optimistic about it going forward,” Nasser added. Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) are partnering for a proposed $44-billion oil refinery in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.

But the project has run into land acquisition hurdles and the Maharashtra government has cancelled the land acquisition process initiated till now. Speaking on the sidelines, B Ashok, CEO of Ratnagiri Refinery, told BusinessLine  that the project is on time.

“We have an assurance from the Maharashtra government that we will be allotted land on the West Coast when we require it. The project is on time to be commissioned by 2025,” he said.

Balanced oil market

Speaking on the sidelines of the forum, Saudi Energy Minister, Khalid Al-Falih said he expects the oil market to be balanced soon. “We hope that by April the oil market will be balanced and then we will consult and we will calibrate our supply plans for the second half of the year. So, April will be an important blind post for the journey of oil market stability,” he said.

“We think supply and demand are closely aligned to getting inventories the way we want it to be which is around the five-year average inventory levels. In April, we will be into the new agreements, sufficiently long enough to allow us to do a check,” he added.