India and Russia on Monday agreed that the national oil companies of the two countries should concretise mutually beneficial projects in several fields.
These include exploration and production, grassroots refineries, modernisation of refineries, gas-based petrochemical plants, gas processing plants and participation in liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Petroleum minister Murli Deora met with Russian Prime Minister Victor A Zubkov in a follow up of the successful summit between Manmohan Singh and Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month in Moscow. The emphasis of the two leaders’ discussions was on mutually beneficial projects in the hydrocarbon sector.
India has emerged as a hub of crude oil refining in Asia. Deora underlined that Indian exports of refined petroleum products to some of the world’s most sophisticated markets have touched $ 40 billion. The refining sector offers immense opportunities for Russian companies, Deora pointed out.
The discussions between the two sides will continue at the second Indo-Russian Forum on Trade and Investment scheduled in February, 2008 at New Delhi when a delegation of leading Russian businessmen will be led by the Russian Prime Minister .
En route to Moscow, Deora on Sunday had a brief stopover at Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and held wide ranging discussions with. B Muradov, Head of State Agency for Hydrocarbons Resources, on various issues related to bilateral co-operation in the oil and gas sector.
The Turkmenistan side invited the Indian oil companies to participate in projects of mutual interest in Turkmenistan. It was agreed that a delegation comprising CEOs of Indian Oil Corporation, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, GAIL and ONGC Videsh Ltd, led by a senior petroleum ministry representative would visit Turkmenistan shortly for discussions for identification of specific projects for co-operation.
An overarching MOU covering co-operation in the entire hydrocarbon value chain between the two Governments and identified projects is expected to be formalized during the ensuing meeting of the Joint Working Group on co-operation in Hydrocarbons scheduled to be held in the first quarter of 2008 at New Delhi.