India lowers dependence on Middle-East oil

Nov 01, 2007 01:00 AM

Alarmed by China's growing influence over energy-rich Africa, India is to follow Beijing as it attempts to raise oil and gas imports from the region to lower dependence on Middle-East. India has taken a leaf out of China's book in organizing a two-day conference of energy ministers of 25 African countries with a view to raise the level of engagement.
China, which during 1995-2006 struck energy deals worth $ 8 bn in the continent, last year hosted a mega conference of energy ministers of 36 African nations and promised investment of another $ 40 bn. India has an investment of $ 2 bn in the energy sector in Africa.

"We are enhancing the level of engagement with African continent which is becoming an important non-OPEC energy source," Petroleum Secretary M.S. Srinivasan said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Nigeria in October with the same objective. But many in Africa would not have forgotten that his Cabinet had on two occasions stopped ONGC Videsh from investing in Nigerian oil fields. An industry watcher said the Manmohan Singh Cabinet had not allowed OVL to take 100 % stake in oil blocks 323 and 321 and acquire a stake in the Apko oil field in the west African nation.

OVL had estimated 1 bn barrel of reserves when it made a $ 310 mm bid for OPL 323 and $ 175 mm for OPL 321. Now OPL 323 alone is assessed to hold 3.5 bn barrels after BG Group of UK took 20 % stake.
Similarly, Apko field is certified to hold 1.14 bn barrels of proven reserves as against OVL's estimate of 500-600 mm barrels when it made the $ 2.4 bn bid last year.

Source: www2.irna.ir
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