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July 16, 2020

Deal with Saudi Aramco did not progress as per timelines: Ambani

National

July 16, 2020

LONDON: Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani on Wednesday said his group’s planned stake sale in oil-to-chemical business to Saudi Aramco for an asking of USD 15 billion has not progressed as per original timelines due to COVID-19, foreign media reported.

“We value our two-decade relationship with Aramco and are committed to a long-term partnership,” Mr. Ambani said at Reliance Industries’ annual general meeting. He, however, did not say if the deal was on track or give a new timeline for its completion

“Deal with Saudi Aramco hasn’t progressed per original timeline due to unforeseen situation in the energy market and COVID-19 situation,” he said. Reliance will be spinning off the oil-to-chemical (O2C) business into a separate subsidiary “to facilitate multiple partnership opportunities,” he said. “We expect to complete this process by early 2021,” he said.

Ambani in August last year had announced talks for sale of 20% stake in the O2C business, which comprises of RIL’s twin oil refineries at Jamnagar in Gujarat and petrochemical assets, to the world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Aramco. The deal was to be concluded by March 2020 but was delayed.

“Reliance is working to complete the contours of a strategic partnership with Saudi Aramco,” Mr. Ambani had said in the firm’s latest annual report without giving timelines. The partnership with Aramco would give Jamnagar refineries “access to a wide portfolio of value-accretive crude grades and enhanced feedstock security for higher oil-to-chemicals conversion,” he had said in the annual report.