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Kolkata, Dec 16

THE Chairman of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC), Mr Subir Raha, today expressed disappointment at Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs' (CCEA) disapproval of ONGC's proposal for acquiring 45 per cent stake in South Atlantic Petroleum's Akpo oil and gas field in Nigeria.

He, however, said that oil business being closely guided by geo-political issues, such developments are common in the global oil industry.

"We may feel disappointed but definitely not frustrated. We have taken it in our stride as a plausible development," Mr Raha told Business Line admitting that ONGC had prepared well the ground for the proposed acquisition.

The ONGC Chairman was in city on a joint visit with the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, to the exploratory rig at Bengal off-shore.

Later, talking to newspersons at the State Secretariat, Mr Raha admitted that technical snags had been delaying exploratory drilling at Bengal off-shore. "Hopefully, the technical snags are over and if everything goes well, we will be able to assess the presence of hydrocarbons in the basin in the next few weeks," he said.

Mr Raha said that ONGC would be holding a three-day international seminar in the city beginning January 9, on geological and geo-physical issues related to oil exploration.

"Three leading bodies in the oil sector will participate in the conference. Overall, we expect participation of over 1,000 foreign delegates," he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 17, 2005)
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