Rosneft offers stake in 10 offshore blocks to OVL

Russian state oil major Rosneft has offered ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) a stake in nine offshore oil and gas blocks in Barents Sea and one in Black Sea.

Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Panabaaka Lakshmi told the Lok Sabha that OVL, the overseas arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) is studying data provided by Rosneft before deciding on its participation in the blocks.

"Rosneft, Russian exploration and production company, has offered nine exploration offshore blocks in Barents Sea and one in Black Sea to OVL," she said in a written reply to a question.

"At present, OVL is studying the preliminary data provided by Rosneft for identifying the preferred blocks for participation with Rosneft," she added.

She did not give more details.

OVL is keen to get a foothold in the Arctic projects and expand in Siberia and Far East Russia.

Oil Minister M Veerapa Moily had in December stated that Rosneft had offered OVL a stake in the Magadan 2 and Magadan 3 exploration blocks in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk in eastern Russia.

The blocks Magadan-2 and Magadan-3 are situated in the Okhotsk sea in the eastern part of Russia. The Okhotsk sea is bounded by mainland Russia in the west and north and by Kamchatka-Kuril peninsula towards east and north-east Hokkaido (Japan) to the south.

Rosneft had a couple of years back got licence to explore in five areas in the Sea of Okhotsk – Magadan 1, 2 and 3, Lisyansky and Kashevarovsky.

The area is estimated to hold 2.8 billion tons of oil and oil equivalent natural gas.

Sources said that OVL had in May 2012 written to Rosneft expressing interest in taking a stake in oil and gas blocks in the Russia's Arctic region which have recently been given out to US major ExxonMobil, Italian giant ENI and Norway's Statoil for exploration.

The Russian firm had also recently roped in Statoil for four new joint ventures, including exploring the Magadan 1, Lisyansky and Kashevarovsky blocks that have recoverable reserves of 1.4 billion tonnes.

OVL has 20 per cent stake in the Sakhalin 1 oil and gas field in the Russian Pacific ocean and had bought Imperial Energy, which has fields in Siberia, in January 2009 for USD 2.1 billion.

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