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India, Angola to cooperate in oil & gas sector

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Angola could become India’s second partner country for gas imports with the two countries signing an MoU to commence supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the African nation. India currently buys long-term LNG only from Qatar with supply from other countries coming to India only an on-spot basis.

Though India had in 2005 negotiated an LNG deal with Iran, the deal could never fructify. Gas was to be sourced from Iran’s South Pars field. Iranian Oil firm Petropars today indicated it wants the ONGC-Hinduja consortium to decide on a gas block for exploration in the field by year end. Petropars has set a deadline of end-December for the consortium to decide on participation in a $7.5-billion gas field in the Persian gulf. The company has offered ONGC and the Hinduja Group a 40 per cent stake in the development of Phase-12 of the giant South Pars gas field. “The technical due diligence has been completed by ONGC. Financials and project model have been gone through,” Petropars’ G R Manouchehri said on the sidelines of the Petrotech-2010 oil and gas conference today.

Though ONGC Videsh Ltd MD R S Butola did not elaborate on the Iranian offer, he said they were looking at buying US energy major Exxon Mobil’s 25 per cent stake in a deep-sea block in Angola. OVL is the overseas arm of ONGC. The African nation would also augment supply of crude oil to India from the current five million tonne.

In 2003, OVL had unsuccessfully bid for a 45 per cent stake in the giant Akpo oilfield in Angola but said it would now look at the prospects afresh. British energy major BP is the operator of ultra deep-sea Block 31. “We have been making efforts to acquire interest in upstream opportunities in Angola since 2002. We keep receiving proposals and we are examining one such opportunity,” said Butola. He, however, added it would be too early to say whether bidding will take place.

Visiting Angolan oil minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos said Exxon Mobil and Total of France might be among some of the which were looking at exiting Block 31.

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First Published: Tue, November 02 2010. 00:17 IST