07:40 GMT11 August 2020
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    As India aggressively scouts for overseas oil and gas assets, it aims to merge 13 state owned oil companies into a behemoth to tackle rivals.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — India also plans to merge 13 state owned oil companies to create a giant corporation that could be over US $100 billion in valuation. The proposed conglomerate is expected to be at an equal footing with some of the world’s biggest oil giants.

    "We propose to create integrated public sector oil major which will be able to match the performance of international and domestic private sector oil and gas companies. (Merger) will give them capacity to bear higher risks, avail economies of scale, take higher investment decisions and create more value for shareholders," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his budget speech.

    India has 13 government controlled oil companies. The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) is the biggest among them followed by Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), Oil India and others.

    Meanwhile, India plans to set up two more strategic oil reserves in the eastern state of Odisha and Bikaner in the west in addition to the three reserves it already has. The three caverns currently hold around 5.33 million metric ton (MMT) of strategic reserves. With the addition of two more reserves, India’s crude oil storage capacity may increase up to 15 MMT. The storage vaults are maintained by the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) government by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

    “As a phase two of the strategic crude reserves- caverns are to be set up in Odisha and Bikaner in addition to three existing facilities,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while presenting the Budget for the year 2017-18 in Parliament on Wednesday.

    While the step is mainly geared towards averting a crisis in the country in the eventuality of a global fuel shortage, many global oil majors have already expressed keen interest in parking their reserves in India’s storage vaults.

    Earlier this month, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and the ISPRL signed an agreement to store 5.86 million barrels of ADNOC crude oil at the Karnataka facility.

    “Saudi Aramco of Saudi Arabia and Shell have expressed their interest in storing crude oil in India’s strategic petroleum reserve facilities,” Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas had said earlier.


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