Oil-rich Saudi Arabia on Wednesday said India is its No.1 priority foreign investment destination and its companies are looking at becoming household names in the country with projects in oil refining, petrochemicals and fertilisers.
Speaking at Saudi India Forum, Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the oil-rich Kingdom was excited about reforms and the opening up of the market in the country and is keen to partner in the growth.
"India is an economy that is on its way to becoming the second largest economy in the next 2-3 decades," he said offering Saudi Arabia as a platform for further growth into markets in the Middle East and Africa.
Saudi Arabia has been India's main crude oil supplier and LPG.
"Energy, of course, is a major bridge for Saudi Arabia and India," he said. "(But) We are not just about trade. We are not marketers or sellers. We are investors. We want (Saudi national oil company) Saudi Aramco and (petrochemical giant) SABIC become household names in India."
Aramco has already signed pact to take an equity stake in a mega USD 44 billion oil refinery planned to be set up on Maharashtra coast by 2025 and SABIC is looking at setting up petrochemical projects in the country.
Falih said his country has already started spending money on the planned refinery-cum-petrochemical complex in Maharashtra, which will be the largest single place investment.
"Saudi Aramco is also looking at other opportunities. One investment no matter how largest is not big enough to meet the intentions that we have for India," he said. "India is our No.1 priority for investment outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."
The minister said Saudi companies are looking at manufacturing chemicals and fertilizers as well as invest in infrastructure projects in India. Power plants including renewable energy units are also on their radar.
He, however, offered no details.
Later talking to reporters, he hoped the oil market would be balanced by April and that there would be no gap in supplies due to US sanctions on OPEC members Iran and Venezuela.
"April will be an important line post of the journey for market stability in keeping supply and demand closely aligned and getting inventories to where we want them to be, which is around the five-year average," he said. "We hope by April the market will be in balance, Falih said adding that the commitment to a global supply-cutting deal
Falih, who is part of the high-level delegation traveling with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on a day-long visit to India, said: "The summit has been one of great engagement of great leaders of two great nations" that will deepen engagement between two of the most influential members of G-20.
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