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Aiyar all set for China tour

Aiyar will begin a historic visit to China on Wednesday to further energy cooperation including joint bidding.

business Updated: Jan 10, 2006 15:56 IST

Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar will begin a historic visit to China onn Wednesday to further energy cooperation including joint bidding by the world's most aggressive fuel reserve seekers for acquisition of overseas oil and gas properties.

Aiyar, who will be the first minister to visit China in a year which New Delhi has designated as the Year of Friendship with its neighbour, would seek to translate the five principles of peaceful co-existence enumerated in 'Pansheel' into "India-China cooperation in hydrocarbon sector".

"We believe a cooperative relationship is not only desirable but eminently feasible," he told reporters here.

Aiyar called on China to cooperate in bidding for overseas oil reserves to prevent rivalry between the world's fastest-growing major economies from making acquisitions too costly.

"Market will dictate competition among the companies from the two countries at sometime but there would be opportunities where it might be in the interest of both parties to cooperate and submit joint bids," he said.

The Indian Minister will meet Ma Kai, Chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) during his two-day visit (January 12-13) where ONGC Videsh Ltd, India's flagship firm for overseas oil and gas field acquisitions, is to sign an MoU with its Chinese counterpart, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC).

State-owned gas utility GAIL would court Cnooc, Sinopec and Beijing Gas for cooperation in exploration and production, city gas distribution and gas projects. India's upstream oil regulator DGH would sign a MoU with China's Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development.

Describing his visit as beginning of a new chapter in India-China relationship, he said "opportunities for cooperation will exist everywhere."

"Chinese do see advantage in working with India," he said adding the two countries coming together would mean lesser money being paid for acquiring overseas properties.

While in China, the Petroleum Minister would be addressing a select gathering of senior government officials, corporate leaders and members of China's think-tanks. The theme of his speech would be - 'India and China in Asia's Quest for Energy Security.'

He would also be visiting the Da-Gang onshore oilfield, which is about 90-km from Beijing.

Aiyar said the burgeoning demand for oil and gas resources, which is seen as crucial for the economic growth of the two countries, has led to the development of almost identical energy security policies by the two countries. These consist of significant augmentation of domestic resources through inputs of technology and R&D; pursuit of energy conservation and environment-friendly policies; acquisition of hydrocarbon assets abroad; and reduction in dependence on hydrocarbons through development of unconventional energy resources.

First Published: Jan 10, 2006 14:40 IST