The Hindu Business Line : Oman to invest $3 b in India's fertiliser sector Both sides open to cooperation as trade hits $4.5 billion. Muscat, Sept. 5 Oman will soon pump in investments to the tune of $3 billion into India's fertiliser sector. In this regard, Oman on Sunday decided in-principle to invest in India for the revival of closed plants of Fertilizer Corporation of India (FCI) and Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Ltd, and also for the expansion of the Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd (RCF) through investment by the Oman Oil Company (an Omani Government company). Working group India and Oman have agreed to form a senior-level working group comprising representatives of the Indian Government, RCF, KRIBHCO (Krishak Bharati Cooperative Ltd) and Oman Oil Company, to kick off due diligence at the earliest. In addition to this, both sides are looking at ways to expand the existing capacity of the 16.5 lakh tonnes a year urea project of the Oman India Fertilizer Company (OMIFCO) to 25 lakh tonnes, to provide additional gas to the extent of 0.7 MMSCMD. These were decided during the sixth session of the India-Oman Joint Commission Meeting held here. The Indian delegation was led by the Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Anand Sharma, while the Omani side was led by his counterpart, Mr Maqbool Ali Sultan. Mr Sharma also chaired the Joint Business Council Meeting organised by Oman Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI). The business delegation from India included FICCI President Mr Rajan Mittal. Mr Sharma also called on Omani Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Sayyid Fahad bin Mahmoud bin Mohammed Al Said. Petroleum, gas Mr Sharma said cooperation with Oman in petroleum, gas and fertiliser sectors was a priority area for the Indian Government. India-Oman trade touched $4.5 billion last year, while total bilateral investment is worth $7.5 billion. Among other developments, BPCL and Oman Oil Marketing Company have decided to explore the possibility of setting up a lube blending plant in Oman and marketing in neighbouring countries. Besides, Mr Sharma stressed on the need for the India-Oman Joint Investment Fund to be operationalised and augmented immediately. The fund was started in November 2008 with a seed capital of $100 million and is likely to be increased to $1.5 billion. Sectors that have been identified for investment cooperation are: agriculture, infrastructure, hospitals, power, mining, oil and gas, education and skill development, tourism, healthcare, infrastructure, chemicals and fertilisers. Hospitals Oman said it is keen to set up super-speciality hospitals in India and diagnostic facilities in the form of joint ventures. In this regard, an Omani delegation would visit India shortly. Investments in agro processing, especially in SEZs in India, were also discussed. Mr Sharma said since Oman is strategically located and has entered into Free Trade Agreements with many countries including the US, Indian companies can make use of these by setting up manufacturing facilities in Oman and exporting to these countries. Mr Sharma also said India would soon send another business delegation to explore opportunities of investments in Oman, especially in its Sohar Free Trade Zone.