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India’s largest oil producer set for major stake in Siberian fields

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05 December 2014


 About 500 million tonnes of oil and condensate, and 182 billion cubic metres of gas in the Vankor field. Picture: Rosneft

India’s largest oil producer is set to acquire a stake in two Siberian oilfields as Vladimir Putin looks to expand trade links across Asia. The President will fly to New Delhi next week to finalise the deal that will see Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) take an interest in the Vankor and Yurubcheno-Tokhomskoye fields.

Vankor is the largest field to have been discovered and brought into production in Russia in the last 25 years, with an estimated 500 million tonnes of oil and condensate. Taking a share in such important sites will be seen as strategically important for India, but it will also be viewed as a sign that Moscow is countering Western sanctions imposed following the Ukrainian crisis.

Indeed while no details have been released, the deal could be worth more than $1billion (54 billion roubles). Mr Putin will sign a memorandum of understanding with ONGC when he visits India on December 11 in a high-profile visit that will shore up relations between the two countries. The deal is part of the President’s energy engagement as part of a blueprint to work with Asian countries, particularly China, to overcome sanctions from the EU and United States.

Russian firms are eyeing up India as a market for offshore projects, while India is seeking cooperation to finance its own renewable sector, including solar energy.

A 10 per cent stake in the Vankor oilfield in Siberia is being offered to OVL, the overseas investment arm of ONGC, by Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft. In September, a similar 10 per cent share was sold to China’s CNPC for $1billion. ONGC has already invested more than $5billion in two other Russian oil and gas projects, Sakhalin 1 off the east coast and Imperial Energy Limited (Tomsk).

India is the world’s fourth biggest consumer of oil and ONGC hopes to get 400,000 barrels per day of crude from its assets overseas by 2018. A partnership with Moscow would be seen as ideal since Russia is the biggest oil producer with current output of 10.5 million barrels per day, with its key producing region in West Siberia still maturing.

It is estimated that there are about 500 million tonnes of oil and condensate, and 182 billion cubic metres of gas in the Vankor field, located 130km west of Igarka in the Turukhansk District of Krasnoyarsk Krai.

A stake in the emerging Yurubcheno-Tokhomskoye oilfield in eastern Siberia will also likely be sealed during Mr Putin’s visit to India next week. The field is estimated to hold 991 million barrels of oil equivalent reserves and is planned to start production in 2017, with a peak of 100,000 barrels per day in 2019. The memorandum of understanding comes just months after another Indian firm took a 50 per cent stake in PetroNeft’s Western Siberia oil field License 61.

Oil India Ltd (OIL) hopes to benefit from the 2,100 barrels of oil currently produced from the site on the eastern side of the Ob River.

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