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Saudi Arabia, Reliance in talks for refinery, petrochem project

The world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and Reliance Industries, owned by the richest Indian Mukesh Ambani, are discussing joint investment in petrochemicals and refinery projects, Saudi Oil Minister Khalid al Falih said.

Al Falih, who has known Ambani for over a decade now, travelled to Udaipur earlier this month to attend the pre-wedding festivities of Ambani’s daughter Isha’s marriage with Ajay Piramal’s son Anand.

During that visit, al Falih also held talks with Ambani but choose to tweet about those discussions only this week.
In an Arabic tweet, which was translated using online tools, al Falih said he was delighted to meet Ambani. At the meeting, “we discussed opportunities for joint investments and cooperation in petrochemical, refining and communications projects,” al Falih wrote.

Al Falih also tweeted a picture of the meeting where Ambani is dressed in a business suit, a sharp contrast to other pictures of him being in traditional attire during the pre-wedding festivities held on December 8 and 9. No details of the meeting were available from Reliance.

Reliance operates two refineries at Jamnagar with a total capacity of 68.2 million tonnes per annum.
Reliance plans to expand its only-for-exports SEZ refining capacity to just over 41 million tonnes from current 35.2 million tonnes but does not have any plans to set up a new refinery in the country.

It is presently focused on expanding its petrochemical and telecom business, industry sources said.
Crude oil is the basic raw material for the manufacturing of petrochemicals. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is keen to get a foothold in the world’s fastest-growing fuel market, so as to get a captive customer for the crude oil it produces.

Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, and its partner Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) have picked up 50 per cent stake in a planned $44-billion refinery in Maharashtra, but the project is facing problems in acquiring land due to protests from local politicians.

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