India offers stakes to UAE in petro projects

The government of India has offered UAE stakes in petrochemical plants and refinery projects, as it seeks to boost energy ties with the cash-rich Gulf nation.

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on a two-day visit to UAE, promised “fair, transparent and attractive” policy regime for investing in oil and gas sector in India. Addressing industry captains in Dubai, he showcased investment opportunities. On offer was 26 per cent stake for $700 million in state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp’s about-to-be- commissioned petrochemical project at Dahej in Gujarat.

There was 24 per cent equity available for $200 million in expansion being planned by Bharat Petroleum Corp of its subsidiary Bina refinery in Madhya Pradesh, from six million tonnes (mt) to 7.5 mt.

An investment of $530-850 million can get the UAE 25-40 per cent stake in Hindustan Petroleum’s planned petrochemical plant on the Andhra coast, he said, “UEA makes up for eight per cent of our oil imports. We want to  import more from UAE. In 2016-17, we plan to import 2.5 mt more oil than 2015-16’s purchase of 16.11 mt,” he said.

An official statement said that the minister called for greater economic and strategic ties between India and UAE in his meeting with business leaders.

“India-UAE trade has increased phenomenally in the last half a century. The trade, valued at $180 million per annum in the 1970s, is today around $60 billion making UAE, India’s third largest trading partner since 2014-15,” the statement quoted him as saying.

There is an estimated $8 billion UAE investment in India of which around $3.13 billion is in the form of foreign direct investment, while the remaining is portfolio investment and UAE is the eleventh biggest investor in India in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI).

Pradhan said that India genuinely believes that there is potential to transform the buyer-seller relationship with UAE in energy into a genuine energy partnership.

India has allowed 100% FDI in oil and gas exploration and production, refining, pipelines and fuel marketing.

Also, the government last month announced the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) to streamline the award of hydrocarbon acreages under a new fiscal and contractual regime.

Highlighting the major points in HELP, he said that companies can now explore and produce conventional oil and gas as well as un-conventional hydrocarbon such as CBM and shale under a single license.

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