Saudi Aramco signs deal with Indian refiners

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According to an Indian Petroleum Ministry release, the project cost is estimated at around Rs 3 lakh crore ($44 billion) and while the Indian companies will jointly own 50 per cent stake in the venture, Saudi Aramco and an additional strategic partner will hold the balance equity.

The coming weeks will show how many other discussions have been underway between Aramco and the world's oil majors, as the kingdom's energy giant extends its global reach-while preparing for the IPO.

The project includes a 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 exchange expects an influx of foreign funds to smooth the listing of national oil firm Saudi Aramco, despite doubts from some analysts, the exchange's chief executive explained on Sunday.

"The strategic partnership brings together crude supply, resources, technologies, experience, and expertise of these multiple oil companies with an established commercial presence around the world", Saudi Aramco said on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia has been edged out as the top oil supplier to India amid an intensifying race among producers to retain their most prized markets. When completed, it will reportedly be the largest single-location refinery complex in the world.

As per the agreement, Aramco and the consortium companies would pick up equal share in the JV at 50 per cent each. "From Indian consumers' point of view, I will be more than happy if the price is around US$50 a barrel". "We will only list when the market is right", he said.

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The MoU has been signed with Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals (RRPCL), a consortium made of Indian Oil (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL).

"Geographical information systems allow us to further enhance our upstream operations, safety procedures, project management, our detection and monitoring capabilities, and the preservation of our wide-ranging assets", he said.

On retailing, he said Saudi Aramco is "very much interested" as it does not want to remain just a manufacturing company.

This suggested to the market that Aramco would lower their OSP, as the company usually sets its OSPs in line with changes in the pricing structure for Dubai crude.

India plans to expand its refining capacity by 77 percent to about 8.8 million barrels per day by 2030.