Kazakhstan offers oil field to OVL

May 11, 2005 02:00 AM

India is finally poised to make inroads into the hydrocarbon sector in the Caspian region. Kazakhstan has offered ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) a choice of one block for exploration. Kazakhstan has offered two exploration blocks in the lucrative Caspian region from which ONGC Videsh will select one.
The medium-size blocks have been identified as Satbayev and Mukhanbet. ONGC Videsh is examining the data for the two blocks and a decision is expected soon.

The offer took final shape at a meeting PM Manmohan Singh had with Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev in Moscow. It was decided that Singh would visit Astana once the two sides are ready to sign the deal.
The development will move Indo-Kazakh ties out of the shadows of failed Kurmangazy oilfield deal. Groundwork for breakthrough was laid by oil minister Mani Shankar Aiyar during his February visit to Astana.

At a meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Vladimir Shkolnik, the two leaders decided to focus on other exploration blocks since theKurmangazy was won by Total of France.
"Make an offer that we can't refuse. Our president wants to give India a role in oilfields development," Shkolnik had told Aiyar.
An ONGC Videsh team will be in Kazakhstan for further discussions and reopen a regional office in Astana. Diplomatic observers feel it is better that India gets into Kazakhstan first, even with a small field, and gradually aim big.

Access to Caspian oil is vital to ensure the country's long-term energy security as it will reduce dependence on West Asia. Aiyar has been lobbying for roles for Indian firms in the Blue Stream and the Kazakh-Chinese pipelines. Blue Stream is being built by Russia's Transneft to bring the Caspian oil into the Black Sea, while another pipeline is being built to China's Xinjiang.
Both will bring Caspian oil and gas within India's reach. Blue Stream can bring the Caspian oil to the Mediterranean from where it will come into the Gulf through the Suez of Oil -- a pipeline Egypt is planning to link the two seas. In case of the Chinese pipeline, India can either haul the Caspian oil through a Chinese port or go for an oil-for-gas barter.

Source: Times Internet Limited
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