A senior minister from the Shiv Sena alleged that the state government was not taken into confidence about an MoU signed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) with Saudi Aramco to take a stake in the planned USD 44-billion refinery in Maharashtra.
Saudi Aramco and ADNOC yesterday signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly develop and build an integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex at Nanar in coastal Ratnagiri district.
Sena leader and Maharashtra Industries Minister Subhash Desai said the state government was not taken into confidence before the MoU was signed.
“We have already written to the chief minister, asking him to cancel the land acquisition process. We are awaiting action from him. The project will not be allowed to materialise. We have nothing to do with the MoU, and they have not taken us into confidence,” Desai said.
No representative from the Maharashtra government was present at the signing of the MoU, and Union Heavy Industries Minister (and Sena leader) Anant Geete too was not invited, he said.
“The project will not be allowed at any cost,” Desai said.
Reacting to the MoU, Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan said that Desai should resign for “misleading” the people over the project earlier, and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray should apologise to the people.
Earlier, Desai had said that notification for the land acquisition had been cancelled, but Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis denied it on the same day.
Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, in whose presence the MoU was signed, said on Monday that the mega refinery would have the capacity to process 1.2 million barrels of crude oil per day (60 million metric tonnes per annum).
Asked about the Sena’s persistent opposition to the project, Pradhan said he would meet Uddhav Thackeray and discuss the project, and that the local people’s concerns would be addressed.
Aramco and ADNOC will together hold 50 per cent stake in the project, while the remaining half will be split between state-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL).