India looks at Central Asia for hydrocarbon ventures

October 24th, 2008 - 9:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) After Africa, India has now trained its sights on Central Asia, touted as one of world’s largest oil producing regions in the future.In a bid to tap that region’s potential, energy ministers, policy makers and industry insiders from India and 16 CIS countries will be getting together next month in the Indian capital.

The two-day India-CIS roundtable on hydrocarbons is being jointly organised by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, a leading industry lobby.

The Nov 25-26 event will held exactly a year after an Africa-focussed hydrocarbon summit was held last year in Delhi.

As per government figures, Central Asia, including Russia, now account for 15 percent of oil exports and over 27 percent of gas exports. The estimated oil reserves is about 9 percent of the world’s total.

But its main hydrocarbon asset is natural gas, accounting for nearly 30 percent of proven gas reserves in the planet.

Except for Russia where Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has invested over $1 billion in the Sakhalin-1 oilfield, India has not been able to make much headway in the region. In an earlier foray to buy PetroKazakhstan, ONGC Videsh Ltd had been trumped by China National Petroleum Corp.

ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd (OMEL) - a joint venture between and Mittal Investments - ONGC has been in endless rounds of negotiations since 2006 with the Kazakh state oil company, KazMunaiGaz, for a share in the Satpayev oil exploration block in that country.

Recently, ONGC has confirmed that it was interested in taking up stake in another Kazakhstan oil producer, MangistauMunaiGas.

According to officials, the aims of the roundtable would not just be to explore possibility of equity investment in the region by Indian companies, but also look at participation in the India’s exploration industry too, especially the annual auction of hydrocarbon assets.

Besides, as India is aiming to become a refining hub, discussions on investment in these sectors will also be held, along with possible collaborations in third countries.

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