India is turning to Russia for natural gas: Petroleum Minister

By NT Bureau Published on Sep 14, 2018 03:50 PM IST

New Delhi: India's constant push to bolster energy ties with Russia has resulted in oil PSUs scouting for discovered oil and gas fields in the world's biggest nation, the Petroleum Ministry has said.

Indian PSUs have already invested $15 billion in picking up stakes in Russian oil and gas projects like Sakhalin-1, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said at a conference on 'India-Russia in 21st Century'.

“Our oil and gas PSUs are continuing to explore their participation in more oil and gas projects in Russia. We are working with Russian oil and gas companies for acquisition of quality producing blocks,” he said.

ONGC Videsh Ltd in 2001 bought a 20 per cent stake in the Sakhalin-1 project in East Russia. It further bought Imperial Energy a few years later and has recently invested in Vankorneft and TasYuryah along with Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Oil India Ltd and Bharat PetroResources Ltd (BPRL). In return, Russian firm Rosneft has bought a majority stake in Essar Oil for $12.9 billion.

“Today, Russia is our largest investment destination in the oil and gas sector. I believe that our time-tested relationship has no expiry date. Russia will always be a priority in India's foreign and energy policy and both our countries will remain as a role model for global communities,” said the Minister. Also, gas utility GAIL has contracted 2.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG from Russia's Gazprom for 20 years, he said.

“India has embarked on the path of becoming a gas-based economy. Russian supplies will help us in meeting the objectives of price stability and energy security,” Pradhan said.

Stating that Soviet oil and gas experts had helped ONGC strike Bombay High in the Arabian Sea in the 1960s, he said Soviet technology had also helped in the refining sector in 1960s and 1970s. India and Russia have deeply strengthened their hydrocarbon engagement and have built an 'energy bridge' between the two nations, he said.

“I see huge opportunities for cooperation in various verticals of oil and gas sector. Our energy relations were never as strong as they have become in the last couple of years. Our engagement in the hydrocarbon sector, including some major investments, has become one of the key pillars of our bilateral relations,” he said.

Vedanta discovers gas in K-G basin

In a regulatory filing, mining baron Anil Agarwal's Vedanta Ltd has said it has discovered natural gas in a Krishna Godavari basin block in the Bay of Bengal.

The firm had recently merged oil explorer Cairn India with itself. Vedanta has said it has notified the Oil Ministry and the upstream regulator Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) about the discovery in well A3-2 in block KG-OSN-2009/3.

Vedanta holds 100 per cent participating interest in the block. 'A3-2 is the first exploration well drilled within the KG-OSN-2009/3 block,' it said.

'Multiple reservoir zones were encountered in the Mesozoic rift formation between the depths of 3351-3944 meters with indications of hydrocarbon during drilling and formation evaluations.' One zone flowed gas to surface during well testing. 'Further appraisal will be required to assess the potential commerciality of this Mesozoic rift discovery,' the firm added.