India eyes bigger stakes in Russian oilfields – media

New Delhi reportedly wants to preserve and expand its holdings in the Sakhalin-1 project

India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is deploying additional manpower to play a bigger role in operating the Sakhalin-1 oil field following ExxonMobil’s withdrawal, the Times of India reported on Friday. The company has a 20% stake in the energy project, located in Russia’s Far East.

According to the report, ONGC’s overseas investment arm OVL has offered to send more personnel with suitable expertise to partially fill the void, after US energy giant ExxonMobil announced in March its intention to exit oil and gas operations in Russia due to Western sanctions.

ONGC also expressed hopes that its stake in the Russian project will not be affected in case of the possible re-organization of Sakhalin-1 by Moscow, just as had happened with the neighboring Sakhalin-2 project.

“I hope it would not impact us … our relation is too strong and it has been for too long,” ONGC chairperson Alka Mittal told Reuters on Thursday.


READ MORE: Indian imports of Russian oil explode – media

ONGC is also considering purchasing additional stakes in Russian oil and gas fields from Western firms that plan to leave the country, media had reported earlier, indicating the firm planned to bid for Exxon’s 30% stake in Sakhalin-1 and Shell’s 27.5% interest in the Sakhalin-2 project.

Major Western oil companies, such as BP, Shell, and ExxonMobil, have recently announced their intention to end their oil and gas ventures in Russia due to Western sanctions.

Meanwhile, India has continued to boost purchases of Russian oil and to invest in the country’s energy sector.

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