Saudi Aramco, ADNOC's India refinery project delayed by two years

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has delayed the commissioning of a giant refinery that state-owned firms are building in tie up with Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) by two year to 2025, a senior official at the consortium told Reuters on Tuesday.

The planned 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) coastal refinery in western Maharashtra state slated to commission in 2023, according to the website of Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd (RRPL), the joint-venture company executing the project.

“The project will be completed in 2024 and commissioning will be in 2025,” said RPPL chief executive B. Ashok.

He said the new commissioning schedule has been drawn as the company now has “detailed information on the configuration, availability of the people to build and so on”.

According to RPPL website, the $50 billion refinery and associated petrochemical project would be spread over 15,000 acres of land.

Acquisition of land for the project has been put on hold after a strong opposition from farmers, chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis said last month.

Land acquisition has always been a contentious issue in rural India, where the majority of the population depends on farming for their livelihood.

The refinery, which was initially expected to cost $44 billion, was seen as a game changer - offering India steady fuel supplies and meeting Saudi Arabia and ADNOC’s need to secure regular buyers for its oil.

But thousands of farmers are refusing to surrender land, fearing it could damage a region famed for its Alphonso mangoes, vast cashew plantations and fishing hamlets that boast bountiful catches of seafood.

Ashok said the project would have a very high complexity to churn out superior grade fuels and 18 million tonnes/year of petrochemicals.

State run companies - Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum - own 50 percent stake in RPPL while the remainder is held by Saudi Aramco and ADNOC.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma; editing by David Evans