Deora invites hydrocarbon investments, projects from CIS

Deora invites hydrocarbon investments, projects from CIS

New Delhi: In yet another effort to secure energy ties with oil and gas rich countries, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on Tuesday invited investments and joint projects in the hydrocarbons sector from member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

“We seek greater opportunities of acquiring oil and gas equities abroad. India provides the world a huge market for hydrocarbons, opportunities for building of gas pipelines across the region and supplying of more LNG to us," Deora said addressing the roundtable of energy ministers from CIS countries.

State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp’s (ONGC) overseas investment arm ONGC Videsh Ltd has already made a total investment of about $8 billion so far in energy assets on foreign shores, the minister said.

“Our share of oil and gas production from these assets reached almost 9 million tonnes last year," Deora said, adding that India is working to increase its presence in Russia’s hydrocarbon sector. OVL already has 20% stake in Sakhalin-I oilfield in Russia.

Energy-deficient India is also pursuing discussions on the $3.5 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline.

“We are in serious discussion on import of natural gas from Turkmenistan through the transnational pipeline. We are eager for business opportunities in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan for mutual benefit," Deora said adding that an Indian company is already working in Tajikistan for production of gas.

India, he said, is keen to tie-up with CIS countries for gas processing and gas-based petrochemical projects, alongside assisting in modernisation and upgradation of refinery and setting up greenfield refining projects.

The government’s New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) that invites domestic as well as foreign firms to participate in bidding in the Indian hydrocarbon sector has already completed seven rounds of bidding. The next round would be held in early 2009.

“We would be happy to hold a NELP roadshow in Moscow that would be of interest of the industry in the region," Deora said.