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India chasing Caspian region energy

New Delhi, May 12, IRNA-Kazakhstan has offered India's ONGC Videsh a choice of one energy block for exploration. Kazakhstan has offered two exploration blocks in the lucrative Caspian region out of which India will select one, reports 'Times of India, today.

The offer received its final shape at a meeting India's Premier Manmohan Singh had with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Moscow on Monday.

It was decided the Indian PM would visit Astana once the deal was ready to be signed.

The current deal will move New Delhi-Astana ties out of the hadows of failed Kurmangazy oil field deal. The background of the successful deal was laid by Indian Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar during his February visit to Astana.

The Kurmangazy block has been bought by Total of France.

"Make an offer that we can't refuse. Our president wants to give India a role in oil fields development," Kazakh Petroleum Minister Vladimir Shkolnik had told Aiyar.

ONGC Videsh, the company to benefit out of the deal will send a team to Astana next week for detailed discussions and reopen a regional office in the Kazakh capital.

Observers feel, India is aiming big in Kazakhstan. Access to aspian oil is vital for India for its energy security which will reduce India's dependence on energy from West Asia.

Aiyar is campaigning for India's role in the Blue Stream and the Kazakh-Chinese pipelines. Blue Stream is being built by Russia's Transneft which will take Caspian oil to Black Sea, while the other pipeline is being built by China's Xinjiang.

Both the projects will bring Caspian energy within India's ambit.

Blue Stream can bring the Caspian oil to the Mediterranean. In case of the Chinese pipeline, India can either haul the Caspian oil through a Chinese port or go for an oil-for-gas barter.

... Payvand News - 5/12/05 ... --

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