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Aramco in talks to buy stake in refining business of India's Reliance

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STATE oil giant Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest oil producer, is in talks to buy a minority stake in the refining and petrochemicals businesses of India's Reliance Industries Ltd, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The Times of India reported earlier that Aramco was in talks to buy a stake of up to 25 per cent, which could be worth around US$10-15 billion, valuing the Indian company's refining and petrochemicals businesses at some US$55-60 billion.

Aramco's discussions with Reliance were "serious", one source said. Another source said talks with Reliance were so far for a 25 per cent stake.

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Reliance, controlled by Asia's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is India's biggest refining and petrochemicals company and runs a 1.4 million-barrel-per-day refining complex at Jamnagar in western India. It plans to expand capacity to two million bpd by 2030, according to plans shared with the Indian government.

Aramco is expanding its refining and petrochemical business globally by signing new deals and boosting the capacity of its existing plants. Last year, Aramco and the United Arab Emirates' national oil company ADNOC teamed up with state-run Indian refiners in a plan to build a 1.2 million bpd refinery and petrochemical project in Maharashtra state. However, the planned refinery faces delays, as thousands of farmers have refused to surrender land for it and the Maharashtra government is looking to move the plant's location. REUTERS