Saudi Aramco, world's leading oil producer and Kuwaiti state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp. (KPC), are reportedly in discussion with India's state-run Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL) for combined involvement in the massive Vizag-based US$10 bln refinery-cum-petrochemical complex in Andhra Pradesh. The proposed South India-based project was previously a five-pronged joint venture with India's HPCL, GAIL (India) Ltd and Oil India Ltd jointly holding 49% whereas Mittal Investment Sarl and France's Total SA holding equivalent share in the complex. However, the current suspension of investment in the project by the global steel baron Laxmi N. Mittal due to global financial turmoil is believed to have open doors for Saudi Aramco and KPC to participate in the project.
HPCL is reportedly not too satisfied with the condition posed by the two Middle-East companies for their joint participation in the Vizag-based complex. KPC is firm on being the only crude supplier in the project besides demanding that the production of the refinery be sold in India. Also, Saudi Aramco is eyeing 30% stake in 15 mln tons refinery complex. Should the three entities reach any official agreement on the conditions of participation, Saudi Aramco and KPC will jointly substitute Mittal Investment Sarl for the US$10 bln refinery-cum-petrochemical complex in Andhra Pradesh.