Saturday, February 10, 2007

ONGC, Russian gas major sign pact

The country’s largest upstream company, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), today signed an agreement with the largest gas company in the world Gazprom, of Russia, to extend their co-operation in exploration projects in India and Russia and other countries.
In a move that is likely to boost India’s chances of picking up stakes in various oil and gas blocks in Russia, the gas major has invited the participation of the country’s oil major in eight projects in far east Russia and Eastern Siberia, ONGC said in a statement.

India is keen on bidding for a minimum 20 per cent stake in the Sakhalin 3 project in far east Russia. “ONGC, in turn, has extended an invitation to Gazprom for participation in integrated petrochemicals, LNG and power projects in the country,” the statement said.

ONGC Videsh, the overseas investment arm of ONGC, is interested in bringing its share of gas from the Sakhalin 1 fields in the form of LNG.

The company, which holds 20 per cent in Sakhalin 1, is reported to be in talks with Shell for using the latter’s liquefaction plant under Sakhalin 2. Gazprom owns 25 per cent stake in Sakhalin 2.

ONGC and Gazprom have signed a memorandum of understanding for technical and scientific co-operation in underground coal gassification, coal bed methane and laying and operating pipelines all over the world.

India had earlier invited Russia to participate in its downstream sector, especially in refineries. “We would like the names of Russian companies to feature in the list of global entities interested in our downstream sector,” a senior official in the petroleum ministry said.

Earlier, Gazprom had also shown interest in the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. The pipeline, delayed owing to geopolitical tangles and gas pricing issues with Iran, is expected to move ahead with the Indian government saying a deal would be signed by June.

ONGC had also signed an agreement with Rosneft, another Russian company, for cooperation all along the hydrocarbon chain.


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