Saudi Aramco has joined a consortium of three Indian companies, Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (RRPCL), to develop a $44bn (SAR165bn) refinery and petrochemical complex in India.

Aramco signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with RRPCL, which comprises of Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, and Hindustan Petroleum.

A pre-feasibility study for the refinery has been completed, and the parties are now finalising the project’s overall configuration.

Following the signing of the MoU, the parties will extend their collaboration to discuss the formation of a joint venture that will provide for joint ownership, control, and management of the project.

READ: Work on $5bn Saudi Aramco-Total petrochem complex to begin in Q3 2018

Aramco and its partners will develop the complex in Ratnagiri, a port town in India's western state of Maharashtra. 

The oil giant said it may include a strategic partner to invest in the refinery.  

News of Aramco's Indian investment follows reports of its tie-up with French oil company, Total, to develop a refinery in Jubail.

Both companies recently entered an agreement for the project, which will represent an investment of $5bn (SAR18.75bn). 

Front-end engineering and design (FEED) work is due to commence in Q3 2018. 

The cracker will feed other petrochemical and specialty chemical plants, thus representing an additional $4bn (SAR15bn) worth of investment by third-party investors. 

In addition to the $9bn (SAR33.75bn) invested in total, up to 8,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created through the complex, which is expected to produce 2.45 million tonnes (2.7 million tons) of chemicals.