NEW DELHI: Saudi Arabia's new energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has assured India that his country will remain a reliable supplier to the world's third-largest energy consumer and is committed to investing in the country.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on a three-nation visit courted the new Saudi Arabian minister in Jeddah.
"Met the newly appointed Saudi Minister of Energy HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman in Jeddah and renewed my earlier acquaintance with him during his previous assignments with Saudi Ministry of Energy," Pradhan tweeted.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman over the weekend dismissed Khalid Al-Falih as the energy minister of the OPEC and replaced him with one of his sons.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, a longtime top energy ministry official, is an older half-brother to the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
"Saudi Minister reiterated Saudi Arabia's commitment to remain a reliable and sustainable partner in hydrocarbon supplies and also on Saudi investments in India," Pradhan said in another tweet.
Saudi Arabia is India's second-largest oil supplier behind Iraq and is investing public and private sector refineries to gain a foothold in the world's fastest-growing energy market.
Its national oil company Saudi Aramco has signed a pact to take equity in a planned giant oil refinery on the west coast and is also in talks with Reliance Industries to buy a 20 per cent interest in its Jamnagar refineries and petrochemical complex.
Until Prince Abdulaziz's appointment late on Saturday night, Saudi Arabia's oil ministry has been since 1960 headed by civilian technocrats.
His elevation concentrates more power within the immediate family of King Salman, who ascended to the throne in 2015.
Pradhan later traveled to the UAE where he met its President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and captains of oil and gas industry.
"Had a healthy exchange on further deepening bilateral trade and investment in the energy sector," he said.
"Also, discussed enhancing India's upstream footprints in UAE and mutual investments in the entire oil and gas value chain in both our countries." He also held a meeting with representatives of the steel industry of the UAE in Dubai and "discussed realising trade potential between two countries in the steel sector." "Also, invited them to invest in the Indian steel sector," he said.
"India & UAE have accomplished some historical milestones in the O&G sector under the leadership of Hon. PM Shri @narendramodi and President of UAE, HE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Reiterated to take this friendship forward and work together on mutually aligned priorities," he added.