OVL interested in Kazakhstan block
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OVL interested in Kazakhstan block

OVL is interested in acquiring 50% stake in Kazakhstan's Satpayev exploration block in the Caspian Sea.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2006 13:43 IST

After months of studying the matter, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) has indicated to the petroleum ministry its interest in acquiring 50 per cent stake in Kazakhstan's Satpayev exploration block in the Caspian Sea.

In April last year, the Kazakhstan government had given OVL, the overseas investment arm of the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the option of taking 50 per cent stake in either of two offshore blocks, Satpayev or Makhambet, owned by Kazakh national oil and gas company KazMunaiGaz.

They had given a deadline of December. After analysing seismic data, OVL indicated to the petroleum ministry in January that it would like to have stakes in both the exploration blocks. But this was not acceptable to the Kazakh government.

"Subsequently, OVL has indicated its preference for a stake in Satpayev," official sources told IANS.

"We are likely to go for the Satpayev block as according to our data analyses it holds better potential. It is more attractive for us but we are still negotiating some issues and hope to conclude talks soon."

The decision has been reached following visits of commercial and technical teams to Kazakhstan to study the preliminary data and gauge the estimated reserves in the two blocks.

The petroleum ministry is still awaiting formal expression of interest from OVL for submission to the Kazakh government.

The possibility of India participating in the oil and gas rich Central Asian country for exploration and development first came up during former petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar's visit to Kazakhstan in February.

The matter was subsequently discussed between former external affairs minister K. Natwar Singh and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Kazakhstan.

If OVL gets a stake in Kazakh exploration field, it would be India's maiden entry into the Central Asian region in oil and gas activity.

According to a report by the Washington-based Energy Information Administration, Kazakhstan has proven oil reserves of 13.8 billion barrels and 68.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

First Published: Apr 13, 2006 13:43 IST