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Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco explores Bengal options
A general view shows the Saudi Aramco oil facility in Dammam city, 450 kms east of the Saudi capital Riyadh, 23 November 2007. Sky-rocketing oil prices that are within striking distance of 100 dollars a barrel have flooded the coffers of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates -- which supply one fifth of world demand. AFP PHOTO/HASSAN AMMAR (Photo credit should read HASSAN AMMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco explores Bengal options

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company that’s counted among the world’s largest petroleum and natural gas firms, is exploring investment opportunities in West Bengal. Speculation is rife that the oil giant may be interested in the proposed TCG-run oil refineries in Haldia and in some downstream projects of Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd. Representatives of the company that has both the world’s second-largest proven crude oil reserves and second-largest daily production met chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna on Thursday to discuss possibilities in oil exploration, downstream petroleum production, refining and marketing.

Javed Yunus, senior advisor of Aramco Asia India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Aramco of Saudi Arabia and representative director of the company Eyad al Subei, met Banerjee at 11.30 am. Over the next hour, they discussed areas of mutual interest and investment potential. Later, speaking about the meeting with the Aramco Asia India official, Banerjee said: “The company has expressed interest in investing in the state. Bengal has huge potential. They will undertake a feasibility study to identify possible areas for further interaction. They have promised to come to Bengal Global Business Summit next year.”

An Aramco official said the meeting was exploratory in nature but refused to comment further. When asked about the areas where Armaco could invest, he said, “We have expertise in crude oil exploration, refining, marketing, downstream petroleum production and hydrocarbon. As the state is rich in mineral and oil reserve, these are areas which can be explored. But it is too early to make a prediction or speak in more definite terms.” Based in Dhahran, Saudi Aramco is valued between $1.25 trillion and $10 trillion. It manages over 100 oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabia, including 288.4 trillion standard cubic feet (scf) of natural gas reserves and operates the world’s largest onshore (Ghawar) as well as offshore (Safaniya) oil fields.