India, Russia to increase hydrocarbon cooperation

December 21st, 2010 - 11:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 21 (IANS) India and Russia Tuesday signed a deal in hydrocarbon cooperation, which will encourage the formation of joint ventures to tap opportunities in this sector, including in third countries.The agreement for enhancement of cooperation in oil and gas Sector was signed by Indian Petroleum Minister Murli Deora and Russian Energy Minister Sergei Ivanovic Shmatko as part of the Russian President Dimitry Medvedev’s visit.

As per the agreement signed Tuesday, both sides have agreed to undertake bilateral cooperation in the oil and gas sector and advocate “non-discriminatory access” to all international hydrocarbon markets, and energy technologies, a ministry press release said.

“It also envisages energy security for all in an interdependent world of consumers and producers of oil and gas with common responsibility of all parties - not only consumers and producers of oil and gas but also transit States for realizing the goal of global energy security,” it said.

Besides, both governments will smoothen the way to joint ventures “for exploration, production, processing and transportation of oil and natural gas, use of technologies, equipment and materials produced in Russia, India and third countries”.

Coinciding with this agreement being signed, the overseas arm of India’s state-run oil explorer, ONGC Videsh, also joined hands with Sistema, Russia’s biggest public financial cooperation, with the signing of a deal.

This agreement will look at opportunities for “potential transaction” for Sistema’s stakes in two Russian refining companies, Bashneft and Russneft, as well as ONGC’s full subsidiary, Imperial Energy, which owns hydrocarbon assets in Russia.

Both Sistema and ONGC Videsh have agreed to have further discussions on the basis of the agreement and set a deadline of June 30, 2011 to formulate terms for potential transaction.

ONGC Videsh already has interests in Russia’s Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project, and is looking for participation in the Sakhalin-3 project.

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