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India's largest oil producer in talks with Iran for oil block

New Delhi, Oct 7, IRNA - ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of India's largest oil producer, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), is holding talks with the Iranian government for exploring an oil block in the northern part of the country.

Chinese company Sinopec is also believed to be in the race for the block. This could not be independently confirmed. The block is near the Caspian Sea.

"OVL has been talking to us for an oil block in North Iran. A Chinese company is also interested," Business Standard reported quoting an Iranian official who did not want to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the press. The official did not give more details about the oil field.

ONGC and OVL officials declined to comment on the specific proposal saying OVL was always looking to acquire assets across the world.

OVL is spearheading India's effort to secure oil assets abroad as Asia's third-largest economy imports more than 70 per cent of the oil it consumes. The integrated energy policy, recently approved by the Cabinet, lays emphasis on buying energy assets abroad.

OVL has interest in 37 oil and gas assets in 17 countries. It is producing oil and gas from six assets in Russia, Sudan, Syria, Vietnam and Colombia.

The company acquired 11 assets in six countries in 2007-08. In August, OVL agreed to buy UK-listed Imperial Energy, which has assets in Russia and Kazakhstan, for $ 2.8 billion. The deal is awaiting the Russian government's approval.

OVL, along with Oil India and Indian Oil Corporation, has discovered oil and gas in the offshore Farsi block in Iran. The company is also seeking other oil and gas blocks in Iran, particularly in the South Pars field, the world's largest gas field.

... Payvand News - 10/07/08 ... --

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