Having already raised ₹1.15 lakh crore from global tech investors, including Facebook to make the company net debt-free, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said they are now working to complete contours of a $15-billion deal with Saudi Aramco. Announced in the oil-to-telecom conglomerate’s last year annual general meeting (AGM), the deal was to be concluded by March 2020 but has been delayed.
Reliance has not yet given a fresh timeline for the completion of the deal.
“In the energy businesses, Reliance is working to complete the contours of a defining strategic partnership with Saudi Aramco (Aramco). Reliance and Aramco share a common outlook and vision on the evolution of the business in the future with emphasis on higher oil-to-chemicals conversion,” Mukesh Ambani said in a letter to shareholders in RIL’s annual report.
He said the partnership gives the refineries access to a wide portfolio of value accretive crude grades and enhanced feedstock security.
Reliance intends to sell 20% stake in the oil-to-chemical (O2C) business, which comprises its twin oil refineries at Jamnagar in Gujarat and petrochemical assets, to Aramco, the world’s largest oil exporter.
With a stake, Aramco would not just have a stake in one of the world’s best refineries and the largest integrated petrochemical complex but also access to one of the fastest-growing markets — a ready-made market for 5 lakh barrels per day of its Arabian crude and offering a potentially bigger downstream role in future.
Besides refineries and petrochemical plants, the O2C business also comprises 51 per cent stake in the fuel retailing business. It, however, does not include the upstream oil- and gas-producing assets such as the flagging KG-D6 block in the Bay of Bengal.
RIL’s refineries are one of the most complex in the world, allowing it to earn a significant premium to the benchmark Singapore gross refining margin. Its petrochemical complexes rank among the biggest in the world, whose dependency on outside raw materials is minimal. RIL has leadership positions both in the domestic polymer and polyester markets.
In a report, HSBC Global Research had said the Aramco deal could provide significant financial muscle to RIL as it carves out space for itself in highly competitive omni-channel retail.
(Inputs from agencies)
This article was first published on livemint.com