ONGC evaluating stake buy in Russia's Vostok Oil project

Reuters VLADIVOSTOK | Updated on September 02, 2021

The Vostok project is estimated to require an investment of more than $137 billion

Oil and Natural Gas Corp is evaluating the purchase of stake in Russia's massive Vostok Oil project, a company official said on Thursday, as the two countries seek to deepen their economic ties in the energy sector.

Vostok is one of Russia's biggest oil projects, comparable in size with the exploration of West Siberia in the 1970s or the US Bakken oil province over the past decade.

"We are still in the evaluation stage ... We are looking at it (Vostok Oil), it is a very large complex project," A.K. Gupta, Managing Director of ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of ONGC, told Reuters.

He did not give any further details on the deal.

Russian oil major Rosneft is in talks with several players about participation in Vostok, which according to initial estimates could require an investment of more than 10 trillion roubles ($137 billion).

Global commodities trader Trafigura has a 10 per cent stake in Vostok Oil and a consortium of traders Vitol and Mercantile & Maritime have shown interest in taking a 5 per cent stake in the project.

Indian Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who is in Russia for an economic forum, met Russian Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov and Rosneft chief Igor Sechin. The forum in the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok was also attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Look forward to further strengthening strategic cooperation across the entire value chain of the energy sector with Russia," the Indian minister said on Twitter after meeting Shulginov.

Gupta said Russia was a "preferred destination" for energy investment by India.

ONGC Videsh owns 26 per cent stake in Russia's Vankor field and a 20 per cent stake in the Sakhalin-1 project. In 2009, it acquired Imperial Energy, an independent exploration and production company in Russia.

Russia aims to begin shipping oil from the planned Vostok project in 2024 via the Northern Sea Route, an alternative to the Suez Canal, which shortens travels to markets in Asia.

Vostok Oil consists of the Vankor cluster, the West-Irkinsky area, the Payakha group of fields and the East-Taimyr cluster.

Published on September 02, 2021

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