NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco launched a new Indian venture near New Delhi, a government statement said on Sunday, as the global oil exporter looks to tap rising demand and invest in the world’s third-biggest consumer.
India’s Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who jointly inaugurated the local unit with Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser, said the move would help pave the way for “a strategic partnership in the hydrocarbon sector” between the two nations.
Saudi Aramco through its subsidiary ARAMCO Asia India (AAI) established its formal business presence in India last year, the statement said.
Aramco is investing in refineries in major markets to lock in customers ahead of its initial public offering next year, and the India business, on top of sales, will look for opportunities to take stakes in refining and petrochemical projects in the country.
Saudi Arabia is competing with Iraq to be India’s top oil supplier, with Iraq displacing it for a fifth month in a row in August, data compiled by Reuters showed.
Nasser is in New Delhi to attend the IHS-CERA conference, which starts on Sunday, which will also be attended by OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo.
Reporting by Malini Menon; Editing by Keith Weir