Even though Covid-19 pandemic has made life difficult for oil companies with suppressed demand and falling oil prices and wide-scale erosion in valuations, Aramco company continues its investment plan in India, which includes a $15 billion deal with Reliance Industries,
Replying to a query from IANS, Aramco said that it remains interested in all its Indian investment plans and will give appropriate updates soon. This would include a proposed $15 billion investment in RIL’s refinery and chemicals business.
Doubts were raised about the investment plan of Aramco after the oil giant reported a 50 percent fall in net income for the first half of its financial year, reflecting a devastating year for oil markets and the global economy at large as the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
“Aramco continues to explore potential growth opportunities in Asia including India,” the company said.
“We are still engaging in discussions with Reliance Industries and will make appropriate updates as and when necessary,” it added.
Apart from the Reliance deal, Saudi Aramco has expressed its desire to participate in several other ventures in India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer.
There have been government-to-government discussions for Aramco to pick up the entire government’s stake in state-run refiner Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. This would give the Saudi entity a strong presence in the vast Indian retail market with huge growth potential.
The Indian government is also looking at Aramco’s investment in a $60 billion oil refinery proposed in Maharashtra as well get its investment oil marketing and retailing in the country. The oil giant is also exploring options to put some of its oil in India’s strategic oil reserve.
Despite the concerns for the oil market, analysts have said Aramco was better prepared to weather market volatility, owing to its size and scale, its low cost of production, and solid free cash flow generation in a weak oil price environment. This is good news for its investment plan for Asia.