Reliance Industries and Saudi Aramco have called off a deal for the state oil giant to buy a stake in the oil-to-chemicals business of the Indian conglomerate due to valuation concerns, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Talks broke down over how much Reliance’s oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business should be valued as the world seeks to move away from fossil fuels and reduce emissions, they said.
Instead, Reliance will now focus on signing multiple deals with companies to produce specialty chemicals for higher margins, one of the sources said.
Aramco, the world’s top oil exporter, signed a non-binding agreement to buy a 20% stake in Reliance’s O2C business for $15 billion in 2019. Last week, the companies announced they would re-evaluate the deal, ending two years of negotiations.
The collapse of the deal reflects the changing global energy landscape as oil and gas companies shift away from fossil fuel to renewables. Valuations of refining and petrochemical assets have gone down especially after the recent COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, a second source involved in the deal discussions said.
Despite this, Reliance had stuck to the $75 billion valuation for the O2C business made in 2019, he said.
“Evaluation by consultants showed a significant cut invaluation…more than a 10% cut,” he added.