The Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries Ltd. has escaped BP Plc to break into an elite club of energy supermajors. However, shares of Reliance have increased at three times the pace of India’s benchmark index this year after its billionaire owner in August announced plans to cut the company’s net debt to zero in 18 months through measures including a stake sale in the oil-to-chemicals business to Saudi Aramco. As per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the surge in shares gives Ambani a net worth of $56 billion, making him Asia’s richest person, above Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma. Reliance’s market value briefly surpassed BP for the first time at the end of last month, and it has now regained the lead over the British company after its shares ended at a record high in Mumbai. Also, the narrow gap with PetroChina Co., currently Asia’s biggest oil company by market cap. Reliance has increased 35 per cent this year, compared with BP’s 1.2 per cent gain as it works on cutting high debt levels. Oil companies have struggled because of swings in crude prices and as uncertainty persists over future energy demand.
However, Reliance has benefited in several ways, it operates the world’s biggest oil refining complex in western India, which can process low-quality crude and turn it into higher-grade fuels, partly protecting it from volatility in prices.