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DNAIndia: India eyes energy deals in Russia

Saturday, November 24, 2007  10:47 IST    
 
NEW DELHI: Petroleum and Natural Gas minister Murli Deora leaves for Russia Saturday with a long shopping list, whose top item is a share in the new Sakhalin projects that will be opened for bidding soon.

Deora is being accompanied by chiefs of Indian Oil Corporation, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and ONGC Videsh limited (OVL).

India has a 20 percent stake in the Sakhalin-I field, which is operated by a consortium led by Exxon Mobil. The Indian share is 2.4 million tonnes of crude per year.

Russia plans to invite bids for Sakhalin-III, IV, V and VI projects. India is expected to pitch for an agreement between OVL and Russian oil major Rosneft for a joint bid in the Sakhalin-IV project.

India has been consistently raising the issue of stake in Sakhalin-III, IV and V projects.

Russia has already had a tussle with Royal Dutch Shell over control of Sakhalin II, when the government forced the Dutch company to give up its majority stake or risk losing the entire project.

Also in focus are the Trebs and Titov exploration blocks in the Timan Pechora region, for which another partnership with Rosneft will be sought.

During Deora’s visit, India also wants to discuss GAIL’s effort to work with Russian gas firm Itera for setting up a city gas distribution network that will retail compressed natural gas for vehicles.

India is also interested in other oilfields in east Siberia and super giant gas fields of Shtokman. For most of these projects, it is hoping to work through joint ventures with the Russian energy majors.

The minister’s three-day visit was earlier scheduled in October, before the prime minister’s trip to Moscow. But it was postponed as Russia could not confirm a meeting between Deora and his counterpart.

The Russian economy is now lubricated with oil money, also a significant bargaining chip in global geopolitics. Energy deals are becoming more and more important in the Indo-Russian relationship too.

http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1135152

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