State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) is in talks with US energy firm ConocoPhillips to explore possibilities of joining hands for exploration of oil and gas in Indian deepsea and shale gas in North America.
ONGC is proposing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ConocoPhillips for cooperation in exploration and development of shale gas and deepwater opportunities, a company official said.
The company in a statement said "discussions with ConocoPhillips to explore possibilities of any business partnership are at a very nascent stage."
The state-owned firm is keen to rope in a foreign major with technology to develop deepwater finds like the ultra deepsea UD-1 discovery in KG-DWN-98/2 block in Krishna Godavari basin. ConocoPhillips last October visited data room for 19 deepwater blocks of ONGC.
The official said ONGC had approached 12 companies working in South East Asia including ConocoPhillips of USA for potential farm-in and a deep water flyer for east-coast blocks was sent to them.
ConocoPhillips has shown interest in ONGC deep water blocks, he said adding the draft MOU provides for potential exploration and development of shale opportunities in India, North America and elsewhere and potential deepwater opportunities offshore India.
ONGC has expressed interest in joining hands with ConocoPhillips, or its affiliates, in shale assets in North America.
This is ONGC's fourth attempt to get a credible foreign partner in its exploration acreage after Petrobras of Brazil, Statoil of Norway and BG Group of UK walked out of its ventures for various reasons.
While Petrobras and Statoil walked out because of delays in getting regulatory approvals for picking up stake in blocks such as KG-DWN-98/2, BG withdrew as part of its global portfolio realignment.
If talks with ConocoPhillips succeed, ONGC is looking at bringing to production dozens of deepsea finds it has made in the Krishna Godavari and Mahanadi basin.
ConocoPhillips is the third-largest integrated energy company in the US and the fifth-largest refiner in the world.