India-Russia meet high on ‘energy’

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 12, 2014 01:27 IST

The country’s energy security received a booster dose on Thursday when India signed a raft of pacts with Russia, including a US $10 billion (Rs 60,000 crore) agreement that allows private company Essar Group to import crude oil from the world’s largest producer of fossil fuel.

An inter-government co-operation for long-term gas supply arrangements, joint exploration of oil and gas and a study to build a multi-billion dollar pipeline were among the deals signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin who is on a state visit here.

“Russia is the world’s top source for hydrocarbon resources and India is one of the world’s largest importers ... Despite our close friendship our collaboration in this sector has been disappointing. Today, we have made a new start with a few important agreements. We will set an ambitious agenda for partnership in oil and natural gas,” Modi said.

Essar’s pact with Rosneft — an integrated company where the Russian government is the main stakeholder — to import 10 million tonnes of crude oil and petroleum products for 10 years from 2015 is apparently second only to Reliance’s 15-year deal with Venezuela for 15 million tonnes of crude a year.

Essar head Shashi Ruia and Rosneft’s Igor Ivanovich Sechin signed the agreement.

At the government level, minister of state for petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan and Russian energy minister Alexander Novak signed a pact that will pave the way for broader collaboration between oil and gas companies of the countries in exploration, production and supply. The study for a pipeline connecting Russia with India is part of the deal.

Tata Power signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a sovereign wealth fund, to explore opportunities in the Russian energy sector.

“RDIF and Tata Power will co-operate on identifying and targeting investment opportunities in the energy sector across Russia in order to develop mutually-beneficial transactions,” says a Tata Power statement.

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