Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), UAE's biggest energy producer, is seeking Indian companies for partnership in its ambitious USD 45 billion downstream petrochemical expansion plans.
ADNOC CEO Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, during a virtual session Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with global energy chief executives on Monday evening, sought opportunities to strengthen the UAE-India energy relationships, a company statement said.
Speaking at the roundtable, Al Jaber said India has always been and will always remain one of the UAE's closest friends and one of its most important trading partners. Strategic ties between the two nations, he said, have strengthened in recent years, particularly in the field of energy.
Indian companies are present in UAE oilfield concession, he said referring to ONGC Videsh Ltd and its partners in 2018 acquiring a 10 per cent in a large offshore oilfield for USD 600 million. This was the first time any Indian company set foot in the oil-rich Emirate.
"As we continue to work together, I see significant new opportunities for enhanced partnerships, particularly across our downstream portfolio. As you know, we have launched an ambitious plan to expand our chemicals, petrochemicals, derivatives and industrial base in Abu Dhabi and I look forward to exploring partnerships with even more Indian companies across our hydrocarbon value chain," Al Jaber said.
ADNOC in 2018 unveiled plans to invest USD 45 billion with partners to develop its local downstream activities, including the expansion of its Ruwais refinery and petrochemical capacity in the industrial hub. The company has courted international investors to expand its oil and gas production and monetise its assets.
"India's remarkable growth as an economic power has cemented its place as one of the world's largest energy consumers. In fact, it represents the second biggest market for ADNOC. This is a position we hope to build on, in line with the huge expansion of India's ambitions for growth," Al Jaber said. ADNOC, he said, is ready to meet India’s growing demand across the full portfolio of products.
He added ADNOC is proud to be a key supplier to India’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves and is keen to expand the commercial scale and scope of this strategic reserves partnership. ADNOC was the first foreign company to hire space at the underground crude oil storage India has built as an insurance against supply and price disruptions.
"In the past two years, ADNOC has enhanced its strategic energy links with India – a key growth market for crude, refined and petrochemical products. In addition to its partnership in the strategic reserves program, ADNOC is also a stakeholder in one of India’s largest refinery and petrochemical projects, to be constructed on India’s west coast," he said.
ADNOC along with Saudi Aramco have together taken a 50 per cent interest in the massive 60 million tonnes a year refinery-cum-petrochemical complex planned on Maharashtra coast at a cost of USD 44 billion. Concluding his remarks, Al Jaber said he believes both countries have only scratched the surface of the opportunities that could benefit both India and the UAE in the energy sector, the statement said.
"I believe that by seizing these opportunities, we can in fact enhance the speed of post-Covid economic recovery. I very much look forward to expanding our relationship across multiple areas and I am absolutely certain that we can remove any barriers that may stand in our way," he said. The objective of the roundtable is to deliver a global platform to understand best practices, discuss reforms, and inform strategies for accelerating investments into the Indian oil and gas value chain.
Indian companies have steadily increased their participation in the UAE's energy sector. In March 2019, a consortium of two Indian oil companies were awarded the exploration rights for an onshore block in Abu Dhabi. This followed the award in February 2018 of a 10 per cent participating interest in Abu Dhabi's offshore Lower Zakum Concession to OVL and its partners Bharat PetroResources Ltd (BPRL) and Indian Oil Corp (IOC).