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Big Oil Eyes India's $100 Billion Energy Boom

India is inviting the biggest international oil companies to invest in the privatization of its state-held oil firms, Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said at an energy event late on Monday.

“We are inviting oil majors,” Pradhan said on the sidelines of the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi, as carried by Reuters, in first comments that India is considering inviting foreign companies to buy into Indian state-held oil firms.  

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently held meetings in Houston with top executives from ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Rosneft, Saudi Aramco, and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the Indian oil minister said.  

In September, reports emerged that India weighs selling the state’s majority stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), the country’s second-largest state-owned refiner, to an international oil company.

India’s government is considering relinquishing direct control over some of the biggest energy firms, although the indirect state participation will remain at above 51 percent, Atanu Chakraborty, who is responsible for the asset sale department at the government, told Bloomberg in July. 

At ADIPEC on Monday, Indian oil minister Pradhan said that “Our focus is to attract global investments into the oil and gas sector, as India would invest $100 billion by 2024 in refining, pipelines and gas terminals. There is no better place to invest than India, if you are in the business of energy.”

Related: Why Oil Companies Aren't Evil

The minister cited political stability, predictable policies, and diverse market that make India an attractive investment destination. Increased presence of major energy companies such as Exxon, Total, and ADNOC shows that investors are confident in India’s economy, according to Pradhan.

The huge refinery which India plans to build on its west coast in cooperation with Saudi Aramco and ADNOC is on the right track, the Indian minister said on Monday.

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In September, Pradhan confirmed that the mega refinery would cost more than the original US$44-billion estimate.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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