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Indian oil companies may get stake in Sakhalin-III

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India and Russia are set to script a new energy chapter. The oil companies of the two fast-growing countries are working on a strategy that would give Indian companies a bigger stake in Russia's vast oil reserves while their Russian counterparts get into the downstream refining and retailing segment in India.

And, if initial indications are anything to go by, India may have already struck a deal for a stake in Sakhalin-III oilfields.

Petroleum minister Murli Deora, who met the Russian delegation, has pitched for a stake in Sakhalin-III, which is set to be auctioned in the coming months. And, speaking at a conference organised by CII and Ficci, Russian President Vladimir Putin said: "We are aware of your interests. We will support India." In a quid pro quo strategy, Indian refining and marketing oilcos will hold talks with Gazprom and Rosneft under the joint working group to explore possibilities of Russian investment in India's downstream sector.

Speaking to ET, ONGC Videsh (OVL) managing director R S Butola said, "We are willing to take up to 49% stake in Sakhalin-III. We are confident that we will be able to expand our partnership to other blocks as well. We will also jointly explore opportunities where we could partner in India's downstream segment." OVL, which has a 20% stake in partnerhip with Rosneft in Sakhalin-I, is already importing crude cargoes from Russia.

© Economic Times

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