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ONGC Videsh looking to tap Latin America

Our Bureau

Kolkata , March 1

OIL & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC), through its wholly-owned subsidiary ONGC Videsh Ltd, is on the lookout for exploration opportunities in Latin America.

The oil exploration major is looking for exploration contracts in Chile, Cuba, Venezuela and in the vicinity of Sudan, where it already operates an oilfield.

Stating this at a press conference here today in connection with the offer for sale of 142,593,300 shares equity shares of the face value of Rs 10 each through the book-building route, Mr Gautam Sen, Executive Director and Head of ONGC's Institute of Management Development, said ONGC Videsh already has a presence in eight foreign countries, including Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Myanmar, Vietnam and Russia.

The company's estimated international crude reserves as of April 1,2003 totalled approximately 673 million barrels of crude oil and approximately 97 billion cubic metres of natural gas. For the nine months ended December 31,2003, OGNC Videsh's international production amounted to approximately 18.67 million barrels of oil and approximately 0.34 billion cubic metres of natural gas, representing an average production of approximately 66,098 barrels of oil and 1.22 million cubic metres of natural gas per day.

Mr Sen said ONGC Videsh was constantly on the lookout for opportunities not only in countries where it already has its operations but in other countries as well. Negotiations with regard to several potential investments were at an advanced stage.

According to him, ONGC Videsh has become a profitable company and sustained profitability was expected in the years ahead. The bid offer for the shares that are up for sale shall open on March 5and close on March 13. The price band for the offer will be announced on March 4, Mr Sen said.

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