Wednesday, January 20, 2021

$70 Billion Investment And No Land – India Struggles With Internal Disagreements

The cost of a giant oil and petrochemicals refinery project to be built jointly by Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) in India is expected to reach $70 billion from an initial estimate of $44 billion.

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The new figure came from readout of a meeting in the UAE between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ) yesterday.

The statement said the two sides discussed the project to develop the refinery and petrochemicals complex, which would secure the supply of 600,000 barrels per day of Saudi and Emirati crude oil for India’s vast market.

India is yet to find land for a $70-billion oil refinery project which is likely to come up in Maharashtra’s Raigad.

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Hinting at fast-tracking the oil refinery project, and Saudi Arabia’s plans to invest its promised $100 billion in India,  Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi had stated earlier, “Investment is never an action. It is always a reaction based on opportunities and stability.”

The west coast refinery project has been facing several hurdles ever since it was signed last year. It was originally proposed to be built at Nanar in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra.

But due to severe protests and backlash from local farmers and civil societies, the Maharashtra government shifted the project to Raigad earlier this year. But acquisition of land even there has turned out to be difficult.

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 India is an important trading partner for KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). We could do more with India. We can leverage the expertise India has on innovation, technology, financial technology and SMEs,” Qasabi had earlier stated.

A comprehensive analysis is being undertaken on the land that the Maharashtra government intends to offer to Saudi Arabia. A consortium of Indian state-run companies — Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum — holds 50 per cent stake in the project.

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