India to invest $ 25B for oil acquisition

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 23 March 2005, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI:Energy deficient India today said would invest up to $ 25 billion in acquisition of overseas oil and gas fields.

"We are in a position to raise $ 25 billion to invest in acquiring oil and gas properties abroad," Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said.

Indian State-owned oil firms already have stakes in oil and gas fields in 12 countries - Russia, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Qatar, Ivory Coast, Australia, Vietnam and Myanmar, but lag far behind Chinese companies.

Often India's flagship Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Videsh Ltd faces Chinese competition in bidding for oil and gas assets abroad, a rivalry, which has seen asking price for the properties shoot up.

"When the world's most energy-thirsty countries pit against each other, the bid price for the limited properties available goes up," he said.

Aiyar said that while India and China would continue to be dictated by market forces and can compete in some areas; there are possibilities of working together.

Citing the example of Greater Nile Oil Project in Sudan, where OVL and China's CNPC are working together without any clash of interest, he said that areas of mutual interest need to be identified so that nations work together in achieving energy security.

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