Saudi Arabia announced that it would double its supply of crude oil to India to reach 40 million tones a year in a move to help India meet its growing demands.

That came during the meeting of Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora and his Saudi Arabian counterpart Ali Al Naimi. Deora is a part of the delegation accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a visit to Saudi Arabia.

“We deeply value Saudi Arabia’s role as a reliable partner in meeting our energy needs. We believe that conditions are ripe for moving beyond a traditional buyer-seller relationship to a comprehensive energy partnership,” said Singh.

Naimi told Deora that his country would increase India’s portion of crude oil from about 25.5 mt a year to about 40 mt, as its three refinery projects at Bhatinda, Bina and Paradip near completion.

The petroleum minister also added that he asked the Indian oil Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) led by Engineers India Ltd (EIL) to jointly open an office in Riyadh. India as well showed a great interest in carrying out an exchange of technical personnel between the two countries and more cooperation on training in skill development in the oil and gas sector.

“The Gulf countries are our natural partners in every sense of the term. Our businesses should work together across the region, develop cross-country linkages and leverage economies of scale,” Singh added.