India, Australian state sign MoU in oil and gas

July 15th, 2008 - 8:19 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) As Indian firms eye Australian oil assets, India has signed a bilateral agreement with Western Australia for cooperation in the oil and gas sector. An Australian delegation led by deputy premier of Western Australia, Eric Ripper, met Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora Tuesday and discussed ways of taking forward the cooperation in the oil and gas sector.

“They felt that there is a large potential for cooperation in various activities especially in exploration and production, coal bed methane and LNG,” said an Indian government press release.

After the meeting, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the petroleum and natural gas ministry’s Directorate General of Hydrocarbons and the Australian province’s Department of Industry and Resources (DOIR).

It was signed by DGH director general V.K. Sibal and DOIR deputy director general Stedman Illias.

The five-year agreement is aimed at enhancing cooperation and exchanging information on oil and gas related issues as well as on policy developments in various sectors.

The key areas of cooperation identified in the MoU are aquifer depletion specific to the oil and gas sector, enhanced oil recovery, coal bed methane gas, education and training, joint research and development.

In the latest round of bidding for Australian oil blocks, Indian firms like Reliance, Videocon and Essar are said to be in the race to pick up shares in the assets. The bidding will close in October.

Australian oil major BHP Billiton took part in the seventh round of auction of Indian oil and gas blocks and bagged seven blocks in partnership with GVK infrastructure.

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