India set to strike oil exploration deal with Vietnam
India is likely to strike an oil and gas exploration and production deal during the visit of the South-East Asian nation’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, on October 27. ‘We are looking at enhancing India’s cooperation in the fields of hydrocarbons and oil exploration,’ said Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
India is also looking at possibilities of tie-ups in the refinery and pipeline sector of Vietnam, he added. He said that he interacted with the Vietnamese authorities on further cooperation in the oil sector during President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Vietnam in September and wants this cooperation to be taken further.
‘We are exploring more options to further our cooperation with Vietnam in the oil sector,’ he said, hinting at further talks and some possible tie-ups during the Vietnam Prime Minister’s visit. Pradhan said that a team of officials of state-run Indian Oil Corporation had visited Vietnam and explored some business ventures which may come to fruition during the Vietnamese President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit.
During Mukherjee’s visit in September, ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), had signed an agreement to expand its oil and gas exploration in offshore Vietnam. The Indian flagship firm agreed to consider exploring in two-three blocks out of the five areas in South China Sea that Vietnam had offered on nomination basis in November last year.
The five blocks or areas 17, 41, 43, 10 & 11-1 and 102&106/10, offered in November last year, lie outside the territory claimed by China in the South China Sea. OVL forayed into Vietnam as early as in 1988.