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Murli Deora to seek Russia's support for energy security

With crude oil prices touching a record high, the government has renewed its efforts to have closer energy ties with Russia, reports Deepak Joshi.

business Updated: Nov 22, 2007 21:47 IST
Deepak Joshi
Deepak Joshi
Hindustan Times

With crude oil prices touching a record high, the government has renewed its efforts to have closer energy ties with Russia. Petroleum minister Murli Deora is expected to leave for Moscow on Sunday for a three-day visit.

The visit assumes significance in view of India's efforts to seek a stake in Sakhalin-IV and V in Russia's Far East coast and explore the possibility for setting up a huge petrochemical hub during the meeting.

The possibility of delay in Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline has added a sense of urgency to India's quest for energy security and meeting its growing demand for secure gas supplies.

Deora is unlikely to visit Islamabad for TAPI pipeline next week as there were doubts over the project.

Project sponsor Asian Development Bank is unsure about the meeting slated for November 28-29 due to political uncertainty in Pakistan.

ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) has a presence in Sakhalin-I project. It owns a 20 per cent stake in the Sakhalin-I oil and gas project, which is operated by Exxon Mobil Corporation.

OVL's 20 per cent stake in Sakhalin-I field has fetched the country 2.4 million tonnes of crude per annum.

Deora was slated to visit Russia last month. However, the visit had to be cancelled at the last moment. A high level delegation was dispatched to Moscow to carry out the groundwork.

Sakhalin-I and II projects have been decided and Russia plans to invite bids in the future for Sakhalin-III, IV, V and VI projects. Deora will be pitching for an agreement between OVL and Russia's major Rosneft for a joint bidding in Sakhalin-IV project.

At the Islamabad meeting, India was expected to take a major stride on joining TAPI gas pipeline by signing "Project Heads of Agreement" and a "Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement" at the Steering Committee meeting.

According to the draft Heads of Agreement, Turkmenistan has projected gas reserves of 159 Trillion cubic feet at its Dauletabad fields, off which 34.26 Tcf would be dedicated to the project.

First Published: Nov 22, 2007 21:38 IST