India offers UAE $1.75-bn stake in petrochemical, refinery projects to boost energy ties

13 Apr 2016


India is offering the United Arab Emirates stakes worth around $1.75 billion in refinery and petrochemical projects as it seeks to boost energy ties with the cash-rich Gulf nation into energy cooperation.

These include a 26-per cent stake worth $700 million in a soon-to-be- commissioned petrochemical project at Dahej in Gujarat, set up by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).

Besides, India is offering UAE a 24 per cent equity (worth $200 million) in the planned expansion of Bharat Petroleum Corp's (BPCL) Bina refinery in Madhya Pradesh, from 6 million tonnes to 7.5 million tonnes.

Also, on offer is 25-40 per cent stake in HPCL's planned petrochemical plant on the Andhra coast, involving an investment of $530-850 million.

Minister for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan, who on a two-day visit to UAE, said the Gulf nation is also welcome to invest in the planned 60 million tonne in Maharashtra and the Jagdishpur-Haldia and Paradip-Surat gas pipelines.

Pradhan also promised a "fair, transparent and attractive" policy regime for investing in oil and gas sector in India through "appropriate policy, regulatory and fiscal interventions".

Addressing industry captains in Dubai, he said India offered ample investment opportunities for UAE, which had in August last year committed to invest $75 billion in India.

"UEA makes up for 8 per cent of our oil imports. We are trying to import more oil from UAE. In 2016-17 - we plan to `import 2.5 million tonnes more oil than 2015-16's purchase of 16.11 million tonnes," he said.

The minister, in his meeting with business leaders, also called for greater economic and strategic ties between India and UAE, an official statement said.

"India-UAE trade has increased phenomenally in the last half a century. The trade, valued at $180 million per annum in the 1970s, is today around $60 billion making UAE, India's third-largest trading partner since 2014-15," the statement quoted him as saying.

UAE investment in India currently stand at an estimated $8 billion, of which around $3.13 billion is in the form of foreign direct investment, while the remaining is portfolio investment, making it the eleventh biggest investor in India in terms of FDI, he said.

Pradhan said India genuinely believes that there is potential to transform the buyer-seller relationship with UAE in energy into a genuine energy partnership.

India has allowed 100 per cent FDI in oil and gas exploration and production, refining, pipelines and fuel marketing.

Also, the government last month announced Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) to streamline the award of hydrocarbon acreages under a new fiscal and contractual regime.

He said companies can now explore and produce conventional oil and gas as well as un-conventional hydrocarbon such as CBM and shale under a single licence.

MoU soon on preventing and combatting human trafficking

India and the United Arab Emirates will soon enter into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in preventing and combating of human trafficking.

The union cabinet on Tuesday gave its approval for signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) on cooperation in preventing and combating of human trafficking.

The MoU is expected to be signed soon after the approval.

The MoU will strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries and increase bilateral cooperation on the issues of prevention, rescue, recovery and repatriation related to human trafficking especially women and children expeditiously.

The salient features of the MoU are:

  • Strengthening cooperation to prevent all forms of human trafficking, especially that of women and children and ensuring speedy investigation and prosecution of traffickers and organised crime syndicates in either country;
  • Taking preventive measures that would eliminate human trafficking in women and children and in protecting the rights of victims of trafficking;
  • Anti-trafficking cells and task forces will work on both sides to prevent human trafficking;
  • Police and other concerned authorities will work in close cooperation and exchange information which can be used to interdict human traffickers;
  • Repatriation of victims would be done as expeditiously as possible and the home country will undertake the safe and effective re-integration of the victims; and
  • A joint task force with representatives from both sides would be constituted to monitor the working of the MoU.

South Asian countries are mainly affected by domestic trafficking, or trafficking from the neighboring countries and these are increasingly being detected in the countries of the Middle East.

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