India has not withdrawn from Vietnamese oil block: Minister

August 18th, 2012 - 6:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) India has not withdrawn from oil and gas exploration in a block in the South China Sea where China claims territorial rights over blocks originally allocated by Vietnamese oil company PetroVietnam, the government has said.

ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) is engaged in exploration of block 128 in South China Sea, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas R.P.N. Singh told the Lok Sabha in a written reply earlier this week.

He said that block 128 and production block 6.1 fell under disputed zones.

State-run OVL had halted its exploration activities in block 128 last year after China issued a demarche stating that its permission must be sought for exploration in block 127 and 128. The company was planning to quit the project. However, Vietnam later extended its exploration contract with OVL.

The minister said OVL was associated with eight exploration blocks as an operator and seven blocks as non-operator under various production sharing contracts.

He also said that OVL had 10 oil and gas assets in eight countries and produced 8.753 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas.

–Indo-Asian news Service

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