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Ahead of Prince Salman's visit Saudi Aramco deal in Ratnagiri to be relocated

The BJP-Shiv Sena electoral alliance deal has impacted the Indo-Saudi-UAE deal for proposed refinery in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra ahead of Crown Prince Md Bin Salman’s two-day visit to India from Tuesday.

The deal in intact though and the Indian government will make provision for separate land for the proposed refinery in Maharashtra, sources indicated. The issue will be key item on the agenda for Salman’s trip.

Shiv Sena, has been opposing the project, arguing that it would hurt the interests of local farmers in the coastal region. Thousands of farmers last year marched from the region to Mumbai to protest against the refinery and the petrochemical project.

When Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj travelled to UAE last month, the two sides discussed the ways to move fast for construction of the refinery, which is proposed to be set up at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, but facing resistance from the local farmers as well as the Shiv Sen.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) of the UAE and the Saudi Aramco, the national oil and natural gas company of Saudi Arabia, in mid-2018 inked a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of Government of India to build the 1.2 million barrel-per-day refinery and petrochemical project in Ratnagiri.

The ADNOC and the Saudi Aramco are proposed to partner with a consortium comprising Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited. Aramco and ADNOC will together hold 50% stake in the 60-million-tonne-per-annum (MTPA) refinery and an adjacent 18 MTPA petrochemical complex.

It was earlier decided Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, and its partner Abu Dabhi National Oil Co (ADNOC) will have the marketing rights for half of the fuel produced by the planned $44-billion refinery at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, but cannot export without first offering the fuel to local companies. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are learnt to have nudged New Delhi to move fast on the project.