Kakakhstan wants a quid pro quo in return for allowing India a stake in the Satpaev oil block in the Caspian Sea. India should support its efforts to join the World Trade Organization. As a legacy of having been part of the old USSR, Kazakhstan has not admitted into this forum as yet.
"India seeks the oil block without going through the tendering process," said Kazakh minister of energy and mineral resources Baktykozha Izmukhambetov here on Friday. Kazakhstan wants support for joining the WTO. This is not a pre condition, but it is part of the negotiations between the two countries."
ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, and ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd (OMEL), have been offered a 20-25 per cent stake in the Satpaev exploration block together. OVL, however, is keen on acquiring a 50 per cent stake.
Kazakh law allows only a 20-25 stake to be given to any foreign company undertaking exploration work. The Kazakh government is entitled to a 50 per cent share in case oil or gas is found.
Inviting the Indian business community to invest in Kazakhstan, the minister said there was complete transparency in his country. "When Kazakhstan joins the WTO, multinational companies will be able to operate within well-defined and transparent laws," he added.
Kazakhstan has also invited Indian companies to invest in building petrochemical and aluminium plants in the country.
Addressing the India-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological, Industrial and Cultural Cooperation, petroleum minister Murli Deora expressed the hope that the current discussions on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline would lead to the opening up of a huge Asian market for not only Central Asian oil but also for Siberian oil in the future.
Said Deora: "Some of our unresolved issues like outstanding debts to Indian companies and repayment of credit lines, as well as the difficulties our businessmen face in getting Kazakh visas need to be resolved fast to give the required push to bilateral trade."