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India signs oil deal with Russian firm

ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) signed an agreement with Systema, the Russian telecom-finance-oil-gas behemoth, to jointly bid for oil and gas assets in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, reports Arnab Mitra.

business Updated: Dec 09, 2009 01:14 IST
Arnab Mitra

ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) on Tuesday signed an agreement with Systema, the Russian telecom-finance-oil-gas behemoth, to jointly bid for oil and gas assets in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao said at a mid-air press conference that during his three-day visit to Russia, which concluded on Tuesday, PM Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev have agreed to intensify cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector. OVL has also expressed interest in bidding for the Sakhalin-3 oilfield, one of the largest oil and gas development projects in the world, off Russia’s Pacific coast. “We are interested in partnering with Russia in developing this field,” said Rao. The Russian Government will take a decision on this time next year.

Rao said that Singh and Medvedev have decided to step up trade ties between the two countries. “We are both trillion-dollar economies but the volume of bilateral trade, at about $7 billion, is very low. The two leaders have fixed a target of increasing this to $10 billon (Rs 45,000 crore) by next year and to $20 billion (Rs 90,000 crore) by 2015,” Rao said. She termed the PM’s Russia visit as very successful.