Indian state petroleum firms IOC, HPCL and BPCL on 14 June signed a joint venture agreement to develop a giant refining complex at Ratnagiri on India’s Arabian Sea coast. The following day Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters that Saudi Aramco is seeking ‘exclusive talks’ to buy a stake in the project, according to Reuters.

Last month Mr Pradhan said Aramco’s proposed investment in the Ratnagiri project could be linked to a purchase by the Indian government of a shareholding in the Saudi state firm, which is being lined up for a 2018 flotation of 5% of its equity. Aramco plans to offer major oil customers including China and India the role of ‘cornerstone investors’ in the IPO (MEES, 26 May). (CONTINUED - 684 WORDS)