Oil India-led consortium eyes stake in Russian Arctic oilfield

Russia’s Rosneft that owns the Vankor cluster oilfields is keen to sell 49% stake; ONGC Videsh is also interested in the fields


OIL, IOC and Bharat PetroResources is looking at buying a stake in Suzunskoye, Tagulskoye and Lodochnoye fields—collectively known as Vankor Cluster. Photo: Bloomberg
OIL, IOC and Bharat PetroResources is looking at buying a stake in Suzunskoye, Tagulskoye and Lodochnoye fields—collectively known as Vankor Cluster. Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: A consortium led by Oil India Ltd (OIL) is eyeing up to 49% stake in Russia’s Vankor cluster oilfields to consolidate its presence in the energy-rich Arctic region.

OIL, Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOC) and Bharat PetroResources Ltd (a unit of Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd or BPCL) is looking at buying a stake in Suzunskoye, Tagulskoye and Lodochnoye fields—collectively known as Vankor Cluster, sources privy to the development said.

ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC), is also interested in the fields.

Rosneft, Russia’s national oil company that owns the fields, wants to retain a majority stake and is keen to sell only up to 49% stake. In case OVL is accommodated, the entire 49% stake would have to be split between the Indian companies.

OVL may possibly take 26% in proportion of the stake it bought in the main Vankor oilfield. OIL-IOC-BPRL may take 23.9% stake in line with its holding in the main Vankor field.

Vankorneft, a subsidiary of Rosneft, is developing the Vankor oil and gas condensate field, situated in the northern part of Eastern Siberia. In 2013, Vankorneft was chosen as an operator on development of new fields of Vankor cluster—Suzunskoye, Tagulskoye and Lodochnoye fields, located close to the Vankor field. The reserves of Suzunskoye field exceed 56 million tonnes of oil and condensate, and 35 billion cubic meters of gas.

OVL in May completed acquisition of 15% stake in Russia’s second biggest oilfield of Vankor for $1.268 billion. It last week got government nod to raise the stake by a further 11% at an investment of $930 million. The 26% stake would give OVL 7.31 million tonnes of oil.

The consortium of OIL-IOC-BPRL acquired 23.9% stake in the field at a cost of $2.02 billion, giving them 6.56 million tonnes of oil. Rosneft continues to hold the remaining 50.1% shares of JSC Vankorneft. The field has recoverable reserves of 2.5 billion barrels.

Besides, the OIL-IOC-BPRL consortium has taken another 29.9% stake in a separate Taas-Yuryakh oilfield in East Siberia for $1.12 billion. The investments have taken the total investment in Russia this year to $5.46 billion.

These investments will give India 15.18 million tonnes of oil equivalent. The investment made compares to $28.48 billion investment by Indian companies overseas in the past 50 years, giving it about 10 million tonnes of oil equivalent.

While Vankor produces about 442,000 barrels of oil per day (4% of Russian crude oil production), Taas currently produces about 21,000 barrels per day of oil, and a peak of 1,00,000 bpd is expected by 2021.

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