Saudi Aramco has reportedly expressed interest in participating in India’s oil retail market, according to Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas. Last year, India’s fuel consumption grew by 11%. Government-owned oil marketing companies such as Indian Oil Corp., Bharat Petroleum Corp. and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. currently control 95% of India’s 50,000 oil retail outlets, but private oil companies such as Reliance Industries and Essar Oil are attempting to expand their oil marketing presence, while international oil companies have mostly stayed in the sidelines, except for Shell which has limited operations, primarily in southern India. BP has only recently obtained approval to sell jet fuel.
In an interview with India’s Economic Times, Pradhan said that India and Saudi Arabia would upgrade their relationship to a strategic level.
“They are also interested to get into our domestic market. They are most welcome,” Pradhan said.
Pradhan said he had a discussion regarding this during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, with the Saudi minister as well as Aramco officials.
“We think the entry of more players will only enhance the competence of our companies and boost product quality for consumers,” the Oil Minister said.