India looks to scoop up offloaded Western assets in Russia – media

New Delhi reportedly wants to purchase BP’s stake in Rosneft, as well as Exxon’s in the Sakhalin 1 project

India has asked state-run energy companies to evaluate the possibility of acquiring oil major BP’s stake in sanctions-hit Russian firm Rosneft, sources told Reuters on Thursday. BP had earlier announced it was abandoning its 19.75% stake in the Russian company.

Sources familiar with the matter said that the Indian oil ministry last week conveyed its intent to ONGC Videsh (OVL), Indian Oil, Bharat Petro Resources, Hindustan Petroleum’s subsidiary Prize Petroleum, Oil India and GAIL (India).

The ministry also asked OVL, the overseas investment arm of Oil and Natural Gas, to consider buying a 30% stake held by US supermajor ExxonMobil in the Sakhalin 1 project in Russia’s Far East. OVL already holds a 20% stake in the project.

One of the sources said Indian companies hope to get stakes in Russian assets at discounted rates, given the risk involved.

“Our effort has been to see how we can stabilize economic transactions, economic engagements with Russia in the current context … There are of course constraints, there are sanctions by some countries, and we will have to kind of work through that,” India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, according to media reports.

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