New Delhi: ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas investment arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), is in talks to set up a refinery in Nigeria even as Indian companies look at sourcing LNG from African nations.
“In efforts to broad-base our activities, OVL is discussing setting up a greenfield refinery in Nigeria,” petroleum minister Murli Deora said at the second India-Africa Hydrocarbon Conference here on Monday.
Though Deora did not give details, officials said he was referring to the proposal of OVL to build a 1,80,000 barrels per day refinery along with steel baron Lakshmi N Mittal in return for oil blocks.
ONGC-Mittal Energy Ltd (OMEL), the joint venture of OVL and Mittal Investment Sarl, landed two Nigerian blocks — OPL 285 and OPL 279 — in the 2006 round in return for downstream commitments either in power, rail or refining.
OMEL is the operator for the two blocks. OPL-285 is a deep-water block, where OMEL, through OMEL Energy Nigeria, holds 64.33% interest and operatorship. The other partners in the block are local Nigerian company EMO (10%), and French firm Total (25.67% interest).
In OPL 276, Total has 14.5%.
Deora said India was keen to expand import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Africa.
“We are a stable, long-term and growing market for Africa’s natural gas. Our companies are interested in sourcing LNG as well as equity participation in existing and upcoming LNG terminals in Africa,” Deora said.
Indian companies were keen to participate in upcoming exploration and production opportunities in Angola, Ghana, Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda and Cote D’Ivoire.
“Our companies are also interested in farm-in opportunities in producing blocks especially in Libya, Algeria and Egypt,” he said.
Deora said India and Africa enjoy strong potential to work together for strengthening energy security. “Several African countries are endowed with rich hydrocarbon resources. India is a willing partner of Africa ready to contribute technology, skills and investment to harness these resources in cost-effective manner for our common benefit.”
India is currently world’s fifth largest consumer of energy and accounts for nearly 3.8% of world’s energy consumption. With the sustained economic growth rate of 7-8%, the demand for energy is on increase.
“We have in recent years invested in exploration and production of oil and gas in Sudan, Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, Nigeria-Sao Tome Joint Development Zone (JDZ) and Equatorial Guinea,” he said.
“India is a big consumer of crude oil from Nigeria, Angola, Egypt and Sudan, to mention just a few African countries.”
“Our depth of engagement with Africa has grown as our companies are present in retail of petroleum products, building of storage terminals and refinery upgradation in Africa. We are also engaged in city gas distribution and CNG projects,” he said.
“We want to develop this cooperation further,” he added. OVL, he said, has till now made an overseas investment of about USD 12 billion, with our share of oil and gas production from these overseas assets reaching 8.8 million tonnes last year.
“We offer to the countries in Africa expertise in several fields, including in laying cross-country pipelines, setting up terminals and depots, LPG plants, and marketing and distribution of various petroleum products,” he added.