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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was winding up a two-week visit to the US, was present at the signing in Houston on Saturday, along with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih and US Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

Furthermore, the project will also include the development of associated facilities such as a logistics, crude oil and product storage terminals, raw water supply project as well as centralised and shared utilities.

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals, a consortium consisting of IOC, HPCL and BPCL.

Khalid Al-Falih, minister of energy, industry and mineral resources in Saudi Arabia, said that an worldwide oil company has expressed interest in being part of the project but did not specify which in a media briefing. India is the world's third-largest energy consumer after the USA and China.

"The strategic partnership brings together crude supply, resources, technologies, experience and expertise of these multiple oil companies with an established commercial presence around the world", the Indian government said in a statement. Final investment decisions on these projects are not expected to be made until 2019 and are dependent on strong economics, competitive incentives, and regulatory support.

Aramco yesterday signed a preliminary deal with France's Total to build a $5bn petrochemical complex in Saudi Arabia.

It is part of Aramco's plan to diversify from its core business of producing crude oil to expanding into value-added products as it plans the world's biggest initial public offering.




"Saudi Aramco will initially assume 50 per cent, but we have the option of introducing another global partner if it is in the interest of the project". A year ago it opened an office in New Delhi. "We want to be consumer facing", he said.

Representatives of Aramco held a marathon meeting with their counterparts from Indian companies on Tuesday.

The company is further strengthening its refining role in China, one of its biggest oil customers.

Exxon is separately proposing to build with another Aramco unit, Saudi Basic Industries Corp 2010.SE , a $9 billion petrochemical plant near Corpus Christi, that would process ethane.

"Because of our significant supplies to the Chinese market we are looking at additions", Nasser said, adding his company hopes to close a deal with CNPC this year to buy a stake in a 260,000-bpd refinery in Yunnan. Iraq displaced Saudi Arabia for the first time on an annual basis in 2017, data compiled by Reuters showed.

Besides Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc) has also shown interest in taking a stake in the project.


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