Millennium Post

Indian PSUs scouting for discovered oil fields in Russia, says Pradhan

New Delhi: Oil PSUs are scouting for discovered oil and gas fields in Russia as India looks to bolster energy ties with the resource-rich nation, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said Thursday.

Indian PSUs have already invested USD 15 billion in picking up stakes in Russian oil and gas projects like Sakhalin-1, he said at a conference on 'India-Russia in 21st Century'.

"Our oil and gas PSUs are continuing to explore their participation in more oil and gas projects in Russia. We are working with Russian oil and gas companies for acquisition of quality producing blocks," he said. ONGC Videsh Ltd in 2001 bought a 20 per cent stake in the Sakhalin-1 project in Far East Russia. It further bought Imperial Energy a few years later and has recently invested in Vankorneft and TasYuryah along with Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Oil India Ltd and Bharat PetroResources Ltd (BPRL).

In return, Russian firm Rosneft has bought a majority stake in Essar Oil for USD 12.9 billion.

"Today, Russia is our largest investment destination in the oil and gas sector. I believe that our time-tested relationship has no expiry date. Russia will always be a priority in India's foreign and energy policy and both our countries will remain as a role model for global communities," he said.

Also, gas utility GAIL has contracted 2.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG from Russia's Gazprom for 20 years, he said. "India has embarked on the path of becoming a gas-based economy. Russian supplies will help us in meeting the objectives of price stability and energy security," he said.

Stating that Soviet oil and gas experts had helped ONGC strike Bombay High in the Arabian Sea in the 1960s, he said Soviet technology had also helped in the refining sector in 1960s and 1970s.

India and Russia have deeply strengthened their hydrocarbon engagement and have built an 'Energy Bridge' between the two nations, he said. "I see huge opportunities for cooperation in various verticals of oil and gas sector."

"Our energy relations were never as strong as they have become in the last couple of years. Our engagement in the hydrocarbon sector, including some major investments, has become one of the key pillars of our bilateral relations,"

he said.

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