EXCLUSIVE-Petronas, Japan's JXTG may buy stake in India's Bina oil refinery- source

Credit: REUTERS/LAI SENG SIN

Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and a consortium led by Japan's JXTG Holdings Inc are among the companies interested in buying a stake in India's Bina oil refinery, a source close to the matter said.

By Promit Mukherjee

MUMBAI, July 29 (Reuters) - Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and a consortium led by Japan's JXTG Holdings Inc are among the companies interested in buying a stake in India's Bina oil refinery, a source close to the matter said.

The Bina plant in central India, capable of processing 156,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, is operated by Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd (BORL), a 50-50 joint venture between Oman Oil Co and state-run Bharat Petroleum Corp BPCL.NS (BPCL).

"There are a new set of companies who have approached BPCL for a stake in its Bina refinery," said the source, who asked not to be named as the discussions are private.

BPCL plans to double the capacity of the refinery in next five years and build a petrochemical complex that would require an investment of about 500 billion rupees ($7.24 billion), the source said.

Bharat Petroleum did not respond to a request for comment. Petronas and JXTG were not immediately reachable for comment.

After initially investing in the 120,000 bpd plant Oman Oil did not take part in the first round of expansion. India allowed BPCL in 2016 to issue debt instruments of up to 30 billion rupees to be converted into equity of BORL to fund the initial expansion to 156,000 bpd.

Oman Oil is now considering whether to invest in a second round, the source added.

Even if Oman takes part in this expansion its overall stake would not translate to a 50 percent share as it had not funded the previous expansion, the source said.

BPCL wants to retain a 50% share in the plant, leaving room for a new partner, the source added.

The Middle Eastern company will finalise what stake it wants to hold in the expanded capacity in about three months and the rest will be sold off, the source added.

Global oil producers are vying to gain entry into India to profit from strong gasoline and petrochemical demand due to the rising disposable income of its 1.3 billion population.

A consortium led by Russia's Rosneft ROSN.MM acquired a controlling stake in Nayara EnergyESRO.M3, formerly known as Essar Oil, for nearly $13 billion in 2017, while Saudi Aramco is also in talks to acquire a minority stake in Reliance Industries' RELI.NS refining, marketing and petrochemical business.

India, the world's third-biggest oil importer, plans to raise its refining capacity by 77 percent to about 8.8 million bpd by 2030 to meet rising fuel demand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government had said earlier.

BPCL had earlier held discussions with Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) and U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp XOM.N.

(Additional reporting by Nidhi Verma in NEW DELHI; editing by Euan Rocha and Louise Heavens)

((promit.mukherjee@thomsonreuters.com; +91-22-6180-7516; Reuters Messaging: promit.mukherjee.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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