Petronas not buying stake in India’s Bina Oil Refinery

By MARK RAO / Pic By TMR File

PETROLIAM Nasional Bhd (Petronas) said it does not intend to invest in India’s Bina Oil Refinery, contrary to a recent report suggesting otherwise.

“While India remains a key market for Petronas, we have no intention of acquiring any stake in the said refinery,” the national oil and gas (O&G) company said in a statement yesterday.

The reply was in response to a report by Reuters published on July 29 this year, which said Petronas was among the companies interested in buying a stake in the Indian crude oil refinery reportedly capable of processing 156,000 barrels per day.

The Bina refinery is located in Central India and is operated by Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd — a 50:50 joint venture between Oman Oil Co and India’s state-owned Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL).

Citing a source close to the matter, Reuters said a new set of companies had approached BPCL to acquire a stake in the Bina plant.

BPCL plans to double the refinery’s production capacity in the next five years and build a petrochemical complex that would require 500 billion rupees (RM28.6 billion) in investment, the source was quoted as saying.

A consortium led by Japan’s JXTG Holdings Inc was interested in acquiring a stake in the Bina refinery, according to Reuters.

Some 46% of its RM46.8 billion capital expenditure last year was used for international investments — a marked departure for the company whose capital investments traditionally stand at a 70:30 ratio in favour of Malaysia.

Its management has indicated that half of the company’s upstream spending of RM30 billion allocated for 2019 will go abroad.

India is identified as a key market for Petronas, having over two decades of strategic partnerships in the country, mainly in the petrochemicals, lubricants and liquefied natural gas (LNG) marketing businesses.

Early last year, Petronas secured an LNG supply agreement to India via its subsidiary, Petronas LNG Ltd, as part of its strategy to expand its LNG supply and cater to the rising demand for clean and reliable energy in the Indian economy.

Petronas is the third-largest LNG exporter globally, operating from its main supply base in Bintulu, Sarawak.

The national O&G company recently inked an agreement with the Gabonese government for two exploration permits in the Central African country.

The two offshore blocks, namely F12 and F13, are expected to have a production rate of 200,000 barrels per day, once developed.

It is understood that Petronas is the first company to sign an exploration and production contract in Gabon in five years.

Petronas also has assets in Canada and Latin American markets.

In Canada, the LNG Canada project, which Petronas holds a 25% interest in, secured a final investment decision last year.

Valued at C$40 billion (RM126.4 billion), the facility is reportedly the biggest single private investment in Canada’s history and is expected to have a nameplate capacity of 14 million tonnes per annum in 2024.

The Canadian asset holds Petronas’ largest gas reserve, after Malaysia, at up to 22 trillion to 23 trillion cu ft, but the company is reportedly only producing 600 million cu ft of gas from its Canadian assets.