ONGC Videsh plans to invest in Gabon oil block | india | Hindustan Times
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ONGC Videsh plans to invest in Gabon oil block

OVL is planning to pick up stakes in an oil and gas property in Gabon with an investment of around $500 million.

india Updated: Jul 13, 2006 11:54 IST

State-owned ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas investment arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), is planning to pick up stakes in an oil and gas property in Gabon with an investment of around $500 million.

"ONGC Videsh has identified two oil and gas blocks in Gabon, of which one will be short-listed for the final purchase," Petroleum Secretary MS Srinivasan said here Wednesday.

Besides the oil and gas block in sub-Saharan African country Gabon, Srinivasan said OVL was also exploring the possibility of buying oil and gas assets in Ecuador, Vietnam and Columbia in the immediate future.

Along with partners British Petroleum and PetroVietnam, OVL already has a stake in gas Block 06.1 in Vietnam.

"Vietnam (block) is doing very well and we are expanding our business there. We are looking for more blocks there with an estimated investment of $150-175 million," Srinivasan said.

On OVL plans to pick up five percent stake in Russian company Rosneft, Srinivasan said: "Chances (of buying stake in Rosneft) are pretty good. It is still in our zone of active consideration. We have another two weeks' time to bid for buying the stake in Rosneft."

The official revealed plans to seek the cabinet nod for empowering the OVL board to approve up to Rs 10 billion worth investments abroad instead of the current level of Rs 3 billion ($75 million), which considerably delays decisions and has been known to impact India's chances of acquiring oil and gas assets overseas with Chinese companies competing aggressively.

If the cabinet approves the proposal, Srinivasan said it would help OVL in 60-70 per cent of cases.

In the last one year OVL has added nine assets in its kitty which includes stakes in over two dozen oil and gas properties spread across over a dozen countries including Russia, Sudan, Myanmar and Iran.