Dhaka lines up deal to get Aramco investment

Saudi oil giant now examining draft MoU

Mir Mostafizur Rahaman | Published: June 27, 2019 10:06:38 | Updated: June 29, 2019 10:50:25

An Aramco employee walks near an oil tank at Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2018. Reuters/File Photo

Bangladesh is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabian oil behemoth Aramco on a multi-billion dollar investment in the power and energy sector, officials said.

Aramco, the national petroleum and gas company, is one of the largest companies in the world by revenue of $ 356 billion. According to Bloomberg, it is the most profitable company in the world.

"We've sent the draft of the MoU to Aramco for their scrutiny and after getting their feedback, we will sign," a senior foreign ministry official, who is dealing with the process, told the FE.

He said the deal has been prepared after taking inputs from the ministries concerned.

Primarily, Aramco has expressed its interest to invest in three projects --a large oil refinery with a capacity of between 10-20 million tonnes, a 500-megawatt power plant and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.

Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) executive chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam told the FE the investment proposal ranges from $15 to $20 billion.

"We feel that the presence of the global giant like Aramco in Bangladesh will boost the image of the country and it will encourage others to follow suit," BIDA officials said.

Aramco wants to build a petro chemical complex in Bangladesh, which will house the refinery and related industries, he said.

But the amount of the investment will be finalisd after both sides sign the deal, he added.

Already, two senior officials have visited Dhaka to discuss the investment proposal this year.

Aramco managing director Waleed K Ghemlas visited Dhaka in January and met officials concerned, then in May, the company's business development manager Julio C. Hesselmeyer Mozes visited Dhaka for a follow-up discussion.

However, talks on Aramco's investment in Bangladesh remain controversial.

In 2011, officials of the energy ministry told reporters about Aramco's plan to build a refinery having the capacity of 1.8 million tonnes.

But later, Khalid al-Falih, Aramco's chief executive officer, told reporters in Riyadh that the company did not have any discussion with the Bangladesh authority on the construction of the refinery plant.


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