ONGC offers Kuwaiti’s KPC stake in Gujarat project

ONGC offers Kuwaiti’s KPC stake in Gujarat project

New Delhi: Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) on Tuesday offered Kuwaiti national oil firm a stake in its 19,500 crore mega petrochemical project in Gujarat, even as the oil-rich Gulf nation expressed a desire to bid with Indian firm in the forthcoming round of Nelp.

“We discussed strategic partnership of Kuwait Petroleum Corp. (KPC) in ONGC Petro-additions Ltd (OPaL)," ONGC chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma said after delegation level talks between visiting Kuwaiti oil minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah and petroleum minister Murli Deora.

ONGC has 26% stake in OPaL, gas utility GAIL 19% and Gujarat State Petroleum Corp. (GPSC) 5%. The rest 50% is to be made up of strategic investor and financial institutions who are yet to be decided. The project is being targeted for completion in early 2013.

KPC’s participation in ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals Ltd,(OMPL)the firm building a 5,750 crore aromatic complex within Mangalore SEZ by end of 2012 was also discussed.

ONGC has 46% stake in OMPL and its subsidiary Mangalore Refinery another 3% while the rest 51% is yet to be tied-up.

Al-Sabah said Kuwaiti participation in the projects would depend on due diligence and feasibility of the projects.

On its part, Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exporation Co. (Kufpec), a subsidiary of KPC, evinced interest in partnering ONGC in bidding for blocks to be offered for exploration of oil and gas in the 9th round of New Exploration Licensing Policy, likely to be launched on October 15.

“We are joining our friends (ONGC) for Nelp bidding," Kufpec deputy managing director Ali D Al-Shammari said.

Also discussed during the talks was Indian companies’ interest of setting up a fertilizer plant in Kuwait possibly in joint venture with Petrochemicals Industries Company (PIC) and KPC.

GAIL’s interest in setting up a gas-based petrochemical and gas processing plants in Kuwait and Bharat Petroleum’s interest in marketing of lubricants and base oil in the Gulf nation was discussed.

Al-Sabah however made no commitments saying the proposals would be discussed by technical people.

Deora said India imports 11.8 million tonnes of crude oil annually from Kuwait and is looking at increasing the volumes if supplies are made on long term contract.

Kuwait said it will consider raising long-term crude supplies to India if its own vessels are used for such supplies.

“India should look into using our ships in taking oil from Kuwait," Al-Sabah said.

On India offer for allowing Kuwait to store its crude oil in strategic stockpile being built at Mangalore and Vizag, he said “we will consider that subject to certain conditions."

He refused to elaborate on the conditions.