The world’s biggest oil exporter Saudi Aramco has said it is focusing its downstream investments in high-growth nations such as India as it negotiates a deal to buy up to 20 per cent stake in Reliance Industries’ USD 75 billion oil-to-chemical business.
In its latest annual report, Aramco said it is looking at investment opportunities in high-growth markets as well as nations that rely on importing crude oil.
India is the world’s fastest-growing energy market with fuel consumption rising at 4-5 per cent annually. It also relies on imports to meet its 83 per cent of oil needs. Saudi Arabia is its second-biggest oil supplier, exporting close to a fifth of India’s oil sourced from abroad.
“Saudi Aramco is focusing its downstream investments in areas of high growth, including China, India and Southeast Asia, material demand centers such as the United States, and countries that rely on importing crude oil, such as Japan and South Korea,” the firm said in its annual report.
Besides, the integration of the firm’s upstream and downstream segments provides a unique opportunity for Saudi Aramco to secure crude oil demand by selling to refineries designed specificallyto economically process Arabian crude oil.
“Furthermore, Saudi Aramco intends to enhance its domestic and global marketing businesses to support the position of its upstream business in key, high-growth geographies, including China, India and Southeast Asia, which are integral to Saudi Aramco’s existing business and future expansion strategy,” it said adding the firm intends to maintain its presence in key large countries that rely on importing crude oil.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani had in August last year announced initial agreements to sell a 20 per cent stake in the oil-to-chemical business to the Saudi national oil company. Also, a 49 per cent interest in fuel retailing business was sold to the UK’s BP plc for Rs 7,000 crore.
Morgan Stanley in a March 19 research note stated thatAramco had in a conference call stated that it is still conducting due diligence on a potential investment in RIL’s oil to chemicals operation.