New Delhi: The overseas arm of India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and the Hinduja Group are interested in jointly developing Iranian assets. A final decision may be reached after an ONGC Videsh’s board meeting.
Informing this, a senior official at ONGC Videsh said: “We are not planning a joint venture at this stage. It will be a collaborative approach to jointly explore possibilities of developing the two fields”. He was referring to Iran’s giant onshore Azadegan oil field and the South Pars gas asset. “A final decision will be known after the board meeting,” he added.
Another ONGC Videsh official confirmed the talks with the Hindujas about developing Iranian assets. “It will be like a joint bidding for the two assets. The equity structure and investment decision will be decided once we get the stake in the two blocks,” he said.
Officials at the Hinduja Group said that the firm was waiting for the outcome of the ONGC Videsh board meet. “We have made a proposal to ONGC and ONGC Videsh for a tie-up. Now their board has to decide on this,” he said.
Iran is drawing interest from Indian and Chinese firms, keen to help tap the world’s second-largest reserves of oil and gas, and considered less susceptible to western pressure.
However, it is also being said that any plans to invest in Iran could be controversial as two sets of UN sanctions have been imposed so far on Iran because Tehran has refused to stop uranium enrichment: a process that has both military and civilian uses.
Iran is the world’s fourth-largest crude oil exporter and Azadegan, located in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, was its biggest oil find in 30 years when it was announced in 1999.