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Saudi Arabia invites India for gas exploration

As India prepares to receive the Saudi Monarch next week, Saudi Arabia has invited Indian cos to participate in gas exploration projects.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2006 16:52 IST

As India prepares to receive the Saudi Monarch next week, the oil-rich Gulf country on Saturday invited Indian companies to participate in gas exploration projects in Saudi Arabia.

"Indian oil companies can either participate alone or form Joint Ventures with Saudi companies to bid for gas exploration and refinery projects," Saudi Ambassador Saleh M Al-Ghamdi told reporters in New Delhi.

The invitation comes ahead of Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz's three-day visit to India from January 24. The King would also be the chief guest at this year's Republic Day celebrations.

Recognising the rapidly growing energy needs of India, Al-Ghamdi said his country was committed to uninterrupted supplies to the "friendly" country (India) irrespective of global price trend.

"We are committed to supply energy to India. We will continue to fulfill our commitments. This is our commitment to India," Al-Ghamdi said.

On the forthcoming visit of Saudi King, the first visit by a Saudi monarch in 51 years, he said the trip "reflects the growing political will to forge greater economic alliance between the two countries".

"India is an established industrialised country. We want to learn from its experience," Al-Ghamdi added.

He said Saudi Arabia was also "very much interested to invest in India and likewise looking at Indian investment in our country."

On the current status of economic cooperation, he said 106 Joint Ventures of Indian companies are in operation in Saudi Arabia while 50 Saudi-India JV are operating in India.

India happens to be Saudi Arabia's fourth largest trading partner, both in terms of import and export, Ghamdi said.

The bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and India stood at 38,800 million riyal with exports, mainly crude at 37,000 riyal, while imports from India stood at 6,200 riyal in 2004.

Coinciding with the Saudi King's visit, a maiden exhibition 'Saudi Arabia in India' is being organised in New Delhi. The King and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the exhibition on January 25.

Nearly 80 top businessmen from Saudi Arabia will take part at the Second Saudi-India Joint Business Council on January 25 at Pragati Maidan, when the King visits the event.

The first JBC was organised two months ago, said the ambassador adding pointing to increasing trade interests between the business communities of both the countries.

"A total 45 big Saudi companies are participating the first ever such kind of exhibition in India," said Mahmoud A AlDor, President of Uniexpoevent.

Such an exhibition will also be held in Mumbai in next April, he added.

Saudi Exhibition in India will also make people aware that our country not only produces industrial goods, but also exports them, including to India, Ghamdi said.

First Published: Jan 21, 2006 16:48 IST