Aramco’s Investment Plan In India Aims To Diversify Saudi Economy Reducing Dependence on Oil Prices

By Staff Writer

Apr 05, 2016 10:10 AM EDT

Saudi Arabian Oil Company or Saudi Aramco, the state owned petroleum and gas company, has been planning for making major investment in India's petroleum sector. The world's largest oil firm with crude reserves of around 265 billion barrels considers India as the most preferred investment destination during global economic crisis. The global leading oil producing company extracts 10 million barrels of crude oil a day.

Khalid Al Falih, head of Aramco has conveyed the investment interest while calling on visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "Minister Al Falih to PM: @Saudi_Aramco looks to India as its No. 1 target for investment," reads a tweet made by Vikas Swarup, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, with a picture of their meeting on Sunday, reports Business Standard.

The 15% global oil depositor has been planning to sell shares with a view to transform the oil giant into an industrial conglomerate. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the global energy powerhouse, is the largest crude oil supplier for India accounting for around one-fifth of the total import. Both the friendly countries cherish the same passion that cooperation in the sector should expand, according to a report published in Press Trust of India.

India has been particularly looking for Saudi investment for 'high-temperature deep sea off-shore exploration'. The country has already adopted investment-friendly policies particularly welcoming Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the oil industry, reports The Economic Times.

The Dhahran based company owns a stake in a Chinese refinery in the Fujian province along with Exxon Mobil Corp. and China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. It has been planning to establish a $2 trillion sovereign wealth fund through offering less than 5% stake in the company.

The $2 trillion fund will appear just as double compared to the Norway's wealth fund. Fund procured through the planned IPO is said to be used for investments in strategic financial and industrial assets abroad.

The Indo-Saudi ties have been witnessed getting closer over the last two decades on the basis of burgeoning energy dependence. The two nations have expressed their keenness to move beyond buyer-seller relationships in the sector.

They have also showed interests to go for joint ventures and investment in refineries and oil fields. However, analysts observe the investment intention as part of Saudi move reducing dependence on oil prices and diversify its economy.

Saudi economy has been suffering from huge budgetary deficit mainly due to historic low crude oil prices. The 15% global oil depositor country intends to sell off a fraction of stake in Aramco through IPO. Now, Aramco, the Saudi oil and gas company, has expressed intention for investment in India's oil sector apparently in a bid to diversify the problem ridden economy.

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