Saudi prince sees ‘useful returns’ from $100 bn India investments

Chennai: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman said he saw investment opportunities of more than $100 billion in India over the next two years. The prince began his first official visit amid tensions between India and Pakistan.

Further, the oil-rich nation has stated that India is its No.1 priority foreign investment destination and its companies are looking at becoming household names in the country with projects in oil refining, petrochemicals and fertilisers.

“Today we expect the opportunities we are targeting in India in various fields to exceed $100 billion in the coming two yearsÂ… we want to work with you, Prime Minister, to ensure these investments are made and to ensure useful returns for both countries,” said the prince.

He was here on a day-long trip that also saw his delegates take part in the Saudi India forum.

At the forum, Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the kingdom was excited about reforms and the opening up of the market in the country and is keen to partner in the growth.

“India is an economy that is on its way to becoming the second largest economy in the next two to three decades,” the Oil Minister said offering Saudi Arabia as a platform for further growth into markets in the Middle East and Africa. Saudi Arabia has been India’s main crude oil supplier and LPG.

“Energy, of course, is a major bridge for Saudi Arabia and India,” he said. “(But) we are not just about trade. We are not marketers or sellers. We are investors. We want (Saudi national oil company) Saudi Aramco and (petrochemical giant) SABIC become household names in India.”

Aramco has already signed pact to take an equity stake in a mega $44 billion oil refinery planned to be set up on Maharashtra coast by 2025 and SABIC is looking at setting up petrochemical projects in the country.

“Saudi Aramco is also looking at other opportunities. One investment no matter how largest is not big enough to meet the intentions that we have for India,” he said adding, “India is our No.1 priority for investment outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

The Minister said Saudi companies are looking at manufacturing chemicals and fertilizers as well as invest in infrastructure projects in India. Power plants including renewable energy units are also on their radar.

NT Bureau