Dharmendra Pradhan visits Saudi Arabia to expedite oil projects

NEW DELHI: Following up on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Saudi Arabia visit, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan made a short visit to India’s largest oil supplier and agreed to form expert teams to expedite specific projects.

“Pradhan made a one-day official visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia today,” an official statement said.

The minister held meetings with Vice Minister for Petroleum Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud and Saudi Aramco Chairman Khalid Al Falih.

Pradhan, who reached Riyadh yesterday and returned back home today, also visited the headquarters of SABIC, the second largest petrochemical company in the world.

“During the visit of Prime Minister, ways to enhancing cooperation in oil and gas sector was one of the key issues discussed with the Saudi leadership.

“Visit by Pradhan was a follow up to take forward the discussions regarding various investment proposals in areas like oil, gas, petrochemicals and exploration and production,” the statement said.

The minister shared details of various investment opportunities in India in downstream and upstream sectors.

He also elaborated on the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) and Discovered Small Fields policy and invited the Saudi side to invest in Indian upstream sector.

Similarly the Saudi side provided details of investment opportunities for Indian companies in their country.

“Both sides agreed to conclude discussions regarding concrete investment proposals in a time-bound manner. They also agreed to appoint high level negotiation teams for various projects which would be periodically reviewed at the Minister level,” the statement said.

Saudi Arabia has been the largest supplier of crude oil to India. It supplied about 40 million tons of crude to India during 2015-16, accounting for about 20 per cent of total crude imports.

India also imported about 3 million tons of LPG which is around 28 per cent of its total LPG imports.