Saudi Aramco may show interest in buying government’s stake in BPCL

New Delhi: State-owned Saudi Aramco may be in the fray to buy out Indian government’s stake of Bharat Petroleum Co. ltd, as it gives the oil giant an opportunity to pierce into one of the world’s biggest oil retail markets, according to media reports.

It is learnt that energy giant Saudi Arab is likely to express its interest in the strategic sale of BPCL during the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia this October, says CNBC-TV18.

The Indian government is looking at selling its 53.29% stake in the company to a strategic investor in the biggest privatisation bid in the history of India through which is targeting to achieve Rs 1.05 lakh crore in divestment proceeds; this includes privatisation of BPCL, Container Corp of India and Shipping Corp of India.

BPCL, which apparently till yesterday did not have any buyers from french energy giant Total SA to oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries is now being evaluated by Aramco and the bid is at an early stage of consideration.

Meanwhile, reports said UK's BP plc said it wants to see what is on offer before deciding to bid India's second biggest oil refining and marketing company.

Media reports also said that Aramco currently is evaluating its Indian investments, including its possible partnership with Reliance India Ltd, and views buying out BPCL as a good opportunity.

Aramco is likely to come out with its IPO this week. It could be at a key value of $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion. It is reported that Saudi Aramco is eying the Indian market through various possible deals.

Another way is to partner with Reliance India Ltd in its oil and chemical business which had till yesterday declined any interest.

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