IOC eyes Egypt

Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is the latest entrant to Egypt. The country’s oil minister has said that talks are on for a $9bn refinery and petrochemical complex. A feasibility study is likely to be ready by mid-2010 after which IOC would take a final decision on the investment.

Egypt has drawn up a mega plan for the refinery and petrochemicals business and is aggressively wooing investors. Earlier this year it had said that Reliance Industries was also looking at investing $10bn in this sector.

Egypt is hoping that good feedstock availability and its proximity to the African and European markets will attract investors. However, although announcements have been made very little money has been put on the ground. I suspect bureaucracy and politics are the chief reasons for slow progress.

As for IOC, the company probably has too many projects on hand. The two big ones in India are the Panipat cracker and the refinery and petrochemicals complex at Paradip. And overseas it is working with Calik Holdings and other partners on a 15m tonne/year refinery and petrochemicals project in Turkey.

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