Saudi Aramco deepens its ties with India

Saudi Aramco has agreed to take a 20 per cent stake in Reliance Industries’ refining and petrochemicals business, as the world’s largest crude oil exporter deepens its ties with India, the fastest-growing energy consumer. The deal, which values the business at $75 billion including debt, would be one of the largest foreign investments in India… Mr Ambani, Asia’s richest man, said the deal would strengthen links between Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producing company, and Reliance, which owns an enormous refinery and petrochemicals complex in Gujarat on India’s west coast… Saudi Aramco has increased its investments in Asian refineries in recent years as it seeks to lock in sales of crude in the coming years. It has long sought a bigger presence in India to take advantage of the country’s rising oil demand. Oil and gas majors are targeting India as they bank on the country’s swelling middle classes to propel energy demand. They are particularly trying to gain access to the retail fuels market… The Saudi Aramco partnership is the latest in a series of deals by Reliance to create joint ventures and sell-off non-core assets as it seeks to cut the company’s debt pile that has ballooned thanks to the huge investment in Jio, the company’s mobile network operator. 

Benjamin Parkin and Anjli Raval