India asks Saudi to invest in strategic oil storage

Prelims level : International Event Mains level : GS - II
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India invited Saudi Arabia to invest in its strategic oil storage even as it looks to resurrect a $44 billion (Rs. 3.08 lakh crore) refinery project with the world’s largest oil producer after the Maharashtra government denied land at the initial site.

Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al Falih, on his second visit to India in three weeks, discussed with his Indian counterpart Dharmendra Pradhan the 60-million-tonne (MT)-a-year mega oil refinery-cum-petrochemical complex.

Review proposals

The [two] Ministers reviewed various Saudi investment proposals in the Indian oil and gas sector, including the urgent steps to be taken to expedite the implementation of the first joint venture West Coast Refinery and Petrochemical Project in Maharashtra, estimated to cost $44 billion, which will be the largest greenfield refinery in the world.

India has built 5.33 MT of emergency storage, enough to meet its oil needs for 9.5 days, in underground rock caverns in Mangalore and Padur in Karnataka and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

India – Saudi Arabia Relations:

  • Principle supplier of Crude oil to India meeting nearly 20% of India’s need thus central to India’s energy security.
  • India’s fourth largest trade partner.
  • 9 million Indians in Saudi Arabia – engaged in entire spectrum of economy.
  • Historical context: History of trade and rise of Arabs due to trade intermediaries between India and Europe.
  • Islamic connection and Haj subsidy.
  • Nitaqat issue: Replacement of foreign workers with Saudi nationals in the private sector.
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