The 50:50 joint venture between the Indian consortium and Saudi Aramco and an additional strategic partner, will invest an estimated Rs3,00,000 crore ($44 billion) to build the 1.2 million bpd Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (RRPCL), in Maharashtra.
Like other major producers, Aramco is looking to lock in customers in the world's third-largest oil consumer through the investment.
State oil companies like Aramco are expanding refining capacity in joint ventures to guarantee demand for their oil in an oversupplied market.
Aramco will hold a 50% stake in the project, he told reporters on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in New Delhi.
Saudi Arabia's own population is growing fast-at average rate of 2.26% over the past four years to 33.5 million-and the country needs to make whatever investments it can to help grow the economy and create jobs for young people. It had supplied 39.5 million tonnes of crude oil to India in 2016-17, ahead of 37.5 million tonnes by Iraq.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was winding up a two-week visit to the United States, was present at the signing in Houston, Texas, on Saturday along with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih and US Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Aramco, now a 50 percent stakeholder in the project, announced that it may, in the future, seek partners to share in its portion of the refinery stake. When asked what took Saudi Arabia so long to enter the business here, he said, "Saudi Aramco has been interested in India for decades". The other partners will be Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.
The deal signed with Aramco also includes the development of product storage terminas, centralised and share utilities, raw water supply project and logistics associated with the petrochemical industry, apart from building the refinery for crude oil processing.
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