OVL bids for oil block in Angola

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, May 10

The Petroleum Minister, Mr Murli Deora, on Wednesday sought greater co-operation in oil and gas sector between India and Angola.

At a meeting of the Petroleum Minister with theAngolan Foreign Minister, Mr Joao Bernardo de Miranda, here on Wednesday, the Indian exploration and production companies suggested that ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) could float a joint venture with Angolan national oil company, Sonangol, for jointly exploring oil fields in Angola and in third countries.

The Indian companies also sought stake in oil fields in Angola. ONGC, whose subsidiary OVL submitted a bid for a property in Angola on Tuesday, suggested that OVL should be considered under a mechanism prevailing in that country that a block is awarded to more than one bidder. OVL proposed to give Angolan Government close to $310 million if it was allotted Block 18 but Chinese firm Sinopec has offered about $1.1 billion.

The Angolan Foreign Minister after meeting Mr Deora said the issue of Indian cos taking a stake in Angolan oil fields was discussed. ``We discussed possibilities of mutual co-operation."

He also said that Sonangol's CEO will visit India in September to discuss the proposed joint venture.

According to sources, OVL having bid lower than its competitors, wants a minority stake in the block using Sonangol's influence. The company was also discussing farming into Sonangol's existing oil properties.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 11, 2006)
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