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Mergers & Acquisitions | 5 September 2013

ONGC, Shell India To Acquire Stake In Nagarjuna's Cuddalore Refinery

by Pranali Shah
ONGC, Shell India To Acquire Stake In Nagarjuna's Cuddalore Refinery
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State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Shell India are in talks with Nagarjuna Oil Corporation for a strategic stake in Nagarjuna’s Cuddalore refinery, BS states. The project is jointly promoted by Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited, Tata Petrodyne, Uhde Gmbh and TIDCO.

The total cost of the Cuddalore project - one of Tamil Nadu's largest private sector projects is around R25,000 Cr. Nagarjuna has already spent R6,000 Cr and the company is looking for investors to raise the remaining amount.

According to the sources, Indian Oil Corporation is also in the fray whereas Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation, which were said to be considering the deal are no longer in the race.

The proposed investment is to facilitate work at the site and to expand the refinery to 12Mn tonnes from the current 6Mn tonnes. The project aims to make Tamil Nadu self-sufficient in petroleum fuels.

The refinery includes a captive port and a power plant. 70% of the total production is meant for state-owned oil marketing companies and the rest is earmarked for exports. The products include motor spirit, high speed diesel, naphtha and aviation turbine fuel.

Hyderabad-based Nagarjuna Group has partnered with the Tamil Nadu government and Tata Petrodyne Ltd to implement the refinery project. Located 180 km south of Chennai on the Bay of Bengal, the project will refine six million metric tonnes of crude petroleum a year in the first phase and will primarily meet the growing energy needs of the southern states of India.

The petroleum refinery project was to commence operations 18 months ago, but due to damages caused by cyclone Thane, the project was delayed by a year-and-a-half.

Founded by Shri KVK Raju, NOCL is part of Nagarjuna Group and is the single largest private sector investment in Tamil Nadu with a total estimated cost of R11500 Cr.

Last year, Singapore-based Trafigura Pvt Ltd picked up a 24% stake in Nagarjuna for around R650 Cr. Another 600 Cr was infused by Trafigura into the construction of storage facilities and associated infrastructure through another entity, Portoil Ltd, a 80:20 JV between Trafigura and Nagarjuna which would come up in a 100-acre site near the refinery’s 2,500-acre site.

ONGC Videsh, subsidiary of ONGC, also acquired 10% stake in offshore giant natural gas fields , Mozambique, from Anadarko Petroleum for $2.64 Bn. Shell has an LNG terminal at Hazira in Gujarat where it had invested more than $1 Bn.

Shell India has had a MoU with state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation since 2006 to jointly explore for oil and gas in India and abroad

With the steady growth in GDP, the demand for petrochemicals in India is growing at about 6-7% per annum. Further, the global demand for such products is growing at a healthy rate, driven by high growth in Asian markets.

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