New Delhi: In what may further bolster India’s robust ties with West Asian energy producers, Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), plans to develop a Ethylene Dichloride facility in Ruwais with Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc), the state-run oil company of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
Ethylene Dichloride is a basic building-block for manufacture of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is used in the housing and agriculture sectors.
“Under the terms of the agreement, ADNOC and RIL will evaluate the potential creation of a facility that manufactures EDC adjacent to ADNOC’s integrated refining and petrochemical site in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi and strengthen the companies’ existing relationship supporting future collaboration in petrochemicals," the statement said.
This comes in the backdrop of India’s evolving energy security architecture, with the UAE supplying 6% of India’s crude oil imports. With three million barrels per day of crude oil production, Adnoc is the world’s 12th-largest producer. The UAE is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), which accounts for around 83% of India’s total crude oil imports and 40% of global production.
“ADNOC would supply ethylene to the potential joint venture and provide access to world-class infrastructure at Ruwais, while RIL will deliver operational expertise and entry to the large and growing Indian vinyls market, in which it is a key participant," the statement added.
Adnoc is also looking to expand its presence in India by investing in refining and petrochemical projects and stocking more crude oil in India, the world’s third-largest energy consumer. It is the only foreign energy company, so far, to partner in India’s strategic petroleum reserves programme. It is also a stakeholder in one of India’s largest refinery and petrochemicals projects, that now hangs in uncertainty after the new ruling alliance came to power.
The 60 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) refinery is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (Adnoc), and three state-run oil marketers— Indian Oil Corp. Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd.
“This is a significant step towards Reliance’s commitment to pursue backward integration and will pave the way for enhancing PVC capacity in India to cater to the fast growing domestic market. This co-operation ideally combines advantaged feedstock and energy from the UAE with Reliance’s execution capabilities and the growing Indian market," Nikhil R. Meswani, RIL executive director said in the statement.
RIL is also in the process of selling a 20% stake in the company’s flagship chemicals and refining business to Saudi Aramco in a deal valued at $15 billion, as the Indian company seeks to cut its massive debt and secure an assured supply of crude oil to its refineries. RIL has developed a strategy to transform the Jamnagar refinery from a producer of fuels to chemicals, moving up the value chain.