Saudi_Aramco_32048
In this Feb. 26, 1997 file photo, Khaled Al Otaiby, an official of the Saudi oil company Aramco, watches progress at a rig at the al-Howta oil field near Howta, Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: State oil giant Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, is in talks to buy a minority stake in the refining and petrochemicals businesses of India’s Reliance Industries Ltd, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The Times of India reported earlier that Aramco was in talks to buy a stake of up to 25 percent, which could be worth around $10-15 billion (Dh36 billion-Dh55 billion), valuing the Indian company’s refining and petrochemicals businesses at some $55-60 billion.

Aramco’s discussions with Reliance were “serious”, one source said. Another source said talks with Reliance were so far for a 25 percent stake.

Aramco and Reliance declined to comment.

Reliance, controlled by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is India’s biggest refining and petrochemicals company and runs a 1.4 million barrels per day refining complex at Jamnagar in western India. It plans to expand capacity to 2 million bpd by 2030, according to plans shared with the Indian government.

Aramco is expanding its refining and petrochemical business globally by signing new deals and boosting the capacity of its existing plants.

Last year, Aramco and the UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) teamed up with state-run Indian refiners in a plan to build a 1.2 million bpd refinery and petrochemical project in Maharashtra state.

However, the planned refinery faces delays.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman visited India in February and said then that he expected investment opportunities worth more than $100 billion there over the next two years.

Ambani has travelled to Saudi Arabia at least twice since December, discussing joint investment among other issues with Aramco’s chief executive, Amin Nasser.