IOC may induct equity partners in Paradip refinery

IOC is looking at equity partnership with companies like Saudi Aramco and Kuwait Petroleum, who can supply crude oil to the Paradip refinery project in Orissa which has an annual capacity of 15 million tonnes

State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) on Wednesday said that it is looking at equity partnership with companies like Saudi Aramco and Kuwait Petroleum for its Rs29,777-crore Paradip refinery project in Orissa, reports PTI.

"Thinking (of inducting equity partners) is on. We are thinking of offering equity to someone who can bring synergy to the project," IOC chairman BM Bansal told reporters in New Delhi.

IOC is looking at companies which can supply crude oil to the 15 million tonnes a year refinery that is scheduled to be completed by March 2012.

Companies like Saudi Aramco, the world's largest crude oil producer, and Kuwait Petroleum Corp may fit into the scheme as oil suppliers to the project.

"So far, discussions have not taken place with anyone but we will like to begin them soon," he said. "Strategically, we wanted to offer equity (closer to project completion) at a premium, but if financial problems persist we will have to advance it," Mr Bansal added.

IOC wants someone who can commit long-term crude supply as equity partner. "But so far nothing concrete has happened," he said.

IOC had last year signed a loan agreement with a consortium of lenders led by State Bank of India for term loan of Rs14,900 crore for the project.

Mr Bansal said IOC is targeting commissioning of the refinery in the first quarter of 2012. The company had some time back split the refinery-cum-petrochemical complex into two, deciding to complete the refinery first and follow with the chemical unit.

The Paradip refinery is being configured to process the toughest, heaviest and the dirtiest crudes which are cheaper than the cleaner and easier varieties.

The refinery will have a Nelson Complexity Index of 15.

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