New Delhi: Indian state-run companies will scout for oil and gas assets in Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan during a week-long visit from 10 April by Union minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh, the government said.
ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp., has identified some prospects in Azerbaijan, it said in a statement on 9 April. Also, GAIL (India) Ltd has identified four natural gas exploration and production blocks in Uzbekistan, it said.
Uzbekistan is one of the top natural gas producing countries in the world.
ONGC Videsh, whose managing director R.S. Butola is accompanying the minister, is also interested in investing in gas fields in Uzbekistan, the government said.
Azerbaijan has re-emerged as a major oil supplier with the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, the world’s second-longest oil pipeline connecting rich Caspian Sea oil reserves with the Mediterranean Sea.
In Tashkent, Ramesh and senior GAIL officials will hold talks with the Uzbek government on petrochemicals, liquefied petroleum gas and city gas distribution projects identified by GAIL.
Other companies that will accompany the minister are State Trading Corp. (STC), National Mineral Development Corp. (NMDC) and MMTC Ltd.
“STC is also exploring a $10 million (Rs43 crore) investment in Uzbekistan for cotton-seed processing,” the government said in the statement.
RITES, a unit of Indian Railways, has made proposals for modernizing and expanding Uzbekistan’s railway network, it added.