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Deora to pitch for OVL in Sakhalin III

Petroleum minister Murli Deora will pitch for ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) getting a stake in the giant Sakhalin-III oil and gas project in far-east Russia when he visits Moscow next week.

“He is leaving for a two-day visit to Moscow on November 25 and of course, on agenda is getting Indian companies a stake in future Sakhalin oil and gas projects in Russia,” a senior aide of the minister said.

Deora was to visit Moscow last month but cancelled the trip as crucial appointments, such as a meeting with Russian oil minister, could not materialise in time.

“He will see minister Victor Khristenko as well as heads of Russian firms Rosneft and Gazprom,” the aide said.

With ONGC Videsh Ltd’s 20% stake in Sakhalin-I fields fetching the nation 2.4 million tonnes of crude per annum, Deora will use his visit to Moscow to push for OVL's participation in the Sakhalin-III fields.

Sakhalin-I and II projects have already been decided and Russia is planning to invite bids in future for Sakhalin-III, IV, V and VI projects in the vast energy-rich region.

OVL, the overseas arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp, owns 20% stake in the Exxon Mobil-operated Sakhalin-I project. Texas, US-based Exxon Mobil Corp owns 30% in Sakhalin-I fields that produce 250,000 barrels of oil per day. SODECO of Japan owns 30% and Russia's Rosneft has 20%. New Delhi wants OVL and Rosneft to jointly bid for the Sakhalin-III project, the aide said.

Also on OVL radar are the Trebs and Titov exploration blocks in Timan Pechora region, for which a partnership with Rosneft will be sought.

Further, Deora could take up during discussions OVL’s participation in the 3.2 trillion cubic metres super giant gas field Shtokman and Prirazlomneye oilfield, which holds recoverable oil reserves of more than 83 million tonnes.

ONGC Videsh Ltd would also seek an agreement with Rosneft for the development of the Vankor field, in which Rosneft is seeking new partners, and a stake in the Kurmangazy field.

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