India’s RIL and Saudi Arabia’s public petroleum and natural gas company already have a close relationship and now, with those ties deepening, observers are speculating about what else is in the pipeline
India’s Reliance Industries Ltd is bringing Saudi Aramco’s chairman on to its board in what some analysts say could be the first move in a major link-up between the two companies.
Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, Aramco’s chairman and also governor of the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, will join the Indian conglomerate as an independent director.
“His joining our board is also the beginning of the internationalisation of Reliance Industries,” Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced at this week’s Reliance annual general meeting.
Saudi Arabia has a history of tie-ups with India, which is a key market for its oil. The kingdom’s wealth fund – Public Investment Fund – recently invested about $1.3 billion in Reliance’s retail unit, its third investment in the conglomerate.
And Reliance, which operates the world’s biggest refining complex, had also agreed to sell a 20% stake in its oil-to-chemicals business to Aramco, but the sale was delayed by the Covid pandemic, Bloomberg reported.
The $15 billion deal had been expected to be done by March last year but now with economies beginning to finally bounce back Reliance and Aramco have restarted talks on the deal.
Oil-to-chemicals is Reliance’s main business, making up about 60% of the conglomerate’s revenue in the year ended in March. Its Jamnagar refining complex has the capacity to process about 1.36 million barrels of oil a day.