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Saudi Oil Minister Discusses Further Cooperation With World's Largest Refiner

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih discussed on Sunday opportunities for joint investments and cooperation in petrochemical and refining projects with Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of India’s Reliance Industries—the company owning the world’s largest refining hub.

Saudi Arabia is increasingly looking to secure markets for its crude in the fast-growing Asian markets India and China, and has recently signed deals to take part in refining and petrochemical projects in the top Asian oil and oil products markets.

Reliance Industries’ two refineries in western India have a total crude processing capacity of 1.4 million bpd. The Indian company, majority owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, plans to boost its refining capacity by another 600,000 bpd, according to Reuters.

In recent months Saudi Aramco—the state oil giant of OPEC’s biggest producer and exporter Saudi Arabia—has signed several deals to boost its downstream presence in India and China.

In June this year, Saudi Aramco and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed a framework agreement and a memorandum of understanding with a consortium of Indian national oil companies to join the mega project at Ratnagiri in the Maharashtra state on India’s west coast. Saudi Aramco and ADNOC will jointly own 50 percent of the new joint venture company RRPCL, while the other 50 percent will be held by the Indian consortium. The parties agreed to explore a strategic partnership and co-investment in the development of the US$44 billion mega refinery.

By investing in the giant Indian refinery, the national oil companies of leading OPEC producers Saudi Arabia and the UAE would secure off-take for their crude in a strategic fast-growing oil market in Asia.

In October, Saudi Aramco signed a memorandum of understanding with the Zhejiang provincial government in China to buy a stake in Zhejiang Petrochemical’s new refinery project.

“We are exploring opportunities for new refining and petrochemicals facilities, making further investments in China,” Abdulaziz Al Judaimi, Senior VP Downstream, said. Aramco seeks to create major refining, marketing, and petrochemicals joint ventures in leading consuming nations such as China and India, it said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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