In what may attract a big chunk of foreign direct investment (FDI) into India, the government is said to have offered Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) a host of investment opportunities in the refining and petrochemicals sector, in partnership with Indian Oil Corp and Oil and Natural Gas Corp.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the world's fourth-largest oil producer and holds the fifth-largest gas reserves globally.
Of the may investment opportunities discussed between Indian and UAE officials during the visit of commerce minister Anand Sharma to UAE last week, one was the possibility of national oil companies from the two sides coming together to set up a Rs 25,000-crore plus mega petrochemical complex.
India's largest oil refining and marketing company, IOC, is currently implementing a 15-million tonne per annum, R30,000-crore plus refinery at Paradip. The company plans to commission it in 2013 in phases and is keen to put up a naphtha cracker and downstream polymer complex-based on surplus naphtha from IOC's refineries.
"The feasibility study for the naphtha complex is planned to be taken up shortly and IOC would welcome developing the project as a collaborative joint venture," a government official who was part of the delegation told HT.
"IOC is interested to participate jointly with UAE-based national oil companies or other petrochemical majors in gas-based petrochemical projects such as gas crackers and downstream polymer and other petrochemical units," he said. "Indian firms are also interested in pursuing exploration and production opportunities available in the UAE either through participation in future licensing rounds or through government-to-government channels, subject to techno-commercial considerations."
ONGC Videsh Ltd is also likely to explore joint bidding opportunities with ADNOC for E&P activities in India and third-world countries, he added.
IOC has a wholly-owned subsidiary that was set up in Jabel Ali in 2006 to blend and market its Servo brand of lubricants in the region.
India and UAE have been each other's largest trading partners for the last several years. Bilateral trade was estimated at $72 billion in 2011-12. The UAE also controls the world's largest sovereign funds (worth over $850 billion).