Moily seeks Kazakh nod for OVL oil field buy, joint ventures

IANS

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) Oil Minister M. Veerappa Moily Wednesday asked the Kazakhstan government to favourably consider ONGC Videsh's proposal to buy a stake in its Kashagan oil field and setting up of joint ventures to manufacture value-added products based on titanium, magnesium, phosphates, potash, molybdenum, tantalum and other rare earth metals and minerals.

"We hope that OVL's proposal to buy ConocoPhillips stake of 8.4 percent in the Kashagan oil field would be favourably considered by consortium partners and the government of Kazakhstan," Moily said at the 10th meeting of the India-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on economic, scientific and cultural cooperation.

The Kazakh side at the IGC meeting was led by Vice Minister of oil and gas, Bulat Akchulakov.

OVL has finalised definitive agreements for the acquisition of 8.40 percent participating interest (PI) of ConocoPhillips in the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement (NCSPSA) in the North Caspian Sea that includes the Kashagan Field, in Kazakhstan.

The acquisition will mark OVL's entry in the largest oil proven North Caspian Sea off Kazakhstan.

Moily also said efforts should be made to set up joint ventures in Kazakhstan based on raw materials to manufacture value-added goods which could be exported to India.

"If the Kazakh side agrees, a delegation of Indian companies could be sent to Kazakhstan to discuss the possibility of setting up joint ventures in the area of such metals and minerals," Moily said.

A meeting of the Joint Working Group on cooperation in hydrocarbon sector was held along with the IGC meeting.

The oil minister said India considered Kazakhstan its key partner in Central Asia. In this context, the agreement relating to the Satpayev exploration block between the Kazakh national oil company, KazMunaiGas, and OVL in April 2011 was a landmark development in the bilateral relationship.

Indian oil companies have started exploring direct transportation of hydrocarbons from Kazakhstan to India which, if implemented, would be a turning point in the region, Moily said. Other countries involved in this venture are Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He stressed the need for better transportation connectivity between the two countries as most of the trade is taking place through European and Chinese ports at present because of the problems associated with transportation via Iranian ports.

Moily expressed satisfaction at the level of defence cooperation, which includes training of Kazakh officers in India and military-technical cooperation.

India is buying some spare parts from Kazakh companies and is getting its torpedoes upgraded in Kazakhstan.

Several new projects on defence surveillance equipment are also under consideration, he said.

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