Millennium Post

‘India, China oil companies should cooperate in Africa’

India and China must abandon confrontation and strategic competition in Africa and cooperate with each other specially in oil sector to replicate the success of their oil firms’ collaboration in a third country, state-run Chinese media said on Thursday. “India and China must abandon the mindset of confrontation and strategic competition,” an article in the state-run Global Times said.

“In fairness, the two nations can cooperate with each other in many fields in Africa, particularly oil. India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) have set a successful precedent for cooperation in a third country, and this experience can be used as a reference for deepening cooperation in Africa,” it said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Africa “has once again given India-Africa ties a pronounced leg up, but China has no reason to be jealous…. If India’s economic interaction with African countries can bring new momentum to local development, China can also benefit from such moves,” it said.

Pointing to reports of growing India-China competition in Africa, it said Modi’s visit attracted a lot of attention and “some observers have labeled the visit a check against China’s increasing economic influence in Africa”.

“Indians established a presence in African markets much earlier than the Chinese, but recent years have witnessed the rapid development of economic cooperation between China and Africa, allowing China’s economic presence and influence in the continent to surpass that of India to some extent,” it said.

“But China and Africa’s economic cooperation is not exclusive. We believe that China, which is a latecomer among big powers in terms of developing economic ties with Africa, has no intention of restricting the rights of African countries to select their business partners,” it said.

“Some observers now believe China and India are competing to increase their presence in the continent. But this would not necessarily be a bad thing if African countries can get some benefit from it,” it said. 

According to media reports, India launched an information and communications technology (ICT) project in Africa several years ago to promote the sharing of expertise between India and African states in areas including tele-education and telemedicine.

Such projects may understandably give Indian telecom firms a more favourable position over Chinese firms in obtaining relevant contracts, but China will nevertheless be pleased to see the smooth operation of such projects if they can promote the development of local economies, it said.

Observing that Africa remained a virgin land for Chinese manufacturers, who have felt trapped by the rising cost of labour in China, it said “we hope India can participate more actively in African countries’ efforts to improve infrastructure to help the region attract more foreign investment.”

Aim of small fields’ bidding is to raise output, reduce import dependence: Minister Pradhan
Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said that the aim of the bid round for the upcoming auction of 46 discovered small gas and oil fields is to boost production and reduce dependence on imports by 10 per cent by 2022. The minister, who is visiting Houston, USA, to hold roadshows to promote bidding of oil fields, met top executives, lobbyist and Indian-Americans associated with the oil and gas industry at a dinner here hosted by Council General of India (Houston) Anupam Ray. 

Starting the first of the two planned roadshows here to auction 46 discovered small gas and oil fields, Pradhan said he is confident of receiving a good response for the blocks. He said the aim of the bid round is to enhance the production of oil and gas, in compliance with the government’s mission of reducing dependence on imports by 2022 by 10 per cent from the current 78 per cent, officials said. 

India will seek participation of global oil and gas firms in its upcoming auctions for discovered small fields, as Pradhan will meet American oil and gas industry leaders during his week-long visit aimed at attracting FDI and new technologies in the Indian exploration and production sector. 
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