India seeks UAE, Kuwait investment in oil and gas

Monday, 23 September 2002, 07:00 Hrs
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India has invited firms the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Japan to explore investment opportunities in the energy sector including oil exploration, refining and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.

NEW DELHI: During bilateral meetings with his UAE and Kuwaiti counterparts on the sidelines of the ongoing International Energy Forum at Osaka, Japan, Petroleum Minister Ram Naik invited investment in India's oil sector particularly refining and LNG projects, the first of which is to be commissioned by December 2003 in Gujarat.
"Participation of Indian companies in the petroleum sector projects in Kuwait and the UAE was also discussed," said an official statement released from Osaka.

Kuwait has agreed to receive a technical delegation from India to discuss the issue of pricing methodology for consumers of different regions, it said.

Naik also urged Japanese companies to "participate in oil exploration and production projects both in India and third world countries, LNG projects and downstream petroleum infrastructure projects in the country," it said.

An important issue taken up by Naik during a meeting with his Japanese counterpart was the pricing pattern by Middle East producers for countries located east of the Suez Canal, who had to pay $1.5-$2 more per barrel on freight-on-board basis than consumers in North America and Europe.

The Japanese side shared India's concern and suggested that major consumers east of Suez including China, South Korea and Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries should take up the issue, if necessary jointly with Middle East exporters, the official note stated.

India has also been invited by Sudan to study a number of exploration blocks still available for awarding. An Indian delegation is expected to visit Sudan early next month to study the possibility of investment in other exploration blocks besides the one it is negotiating to pick up 25 percent stake with an investment of $750 million.

The producing block under negotiation is expected to fetch India an additional three million tonnes of oil annually.

India, which depends on imports for 70 percent of its needs, has been seeking oil equity in exploration blocks in a number of countries including Russia, Central Asian states, Iran and Myanmar.

"Based on the Indian interest, the Sudanese government could consider granting exploration concessions including on negotiated basis," it said.

Source: IANS

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