ONGC may get Vietnam backing for BP stake bid

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is expected to make a joint bid with PetroVietnam for BP's stake in the Nam Con Son basin offshore gas field in Vietnam, visiting petroleum minister Murli Deora hinted today.

Deora, who is in Hanoi at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Vu Huy Hoang, to participate in the East Asia energy ministers' meeting, said the two countries discussed further strengthening of bilateral ties in the hydrocarbon sector.

Deora also met Vietnam's prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who welcomed greater investment from India in the oil and gas sector in that country.

BP is expected to sell its 35 per cent stake in Block 6.1 in the Nam Con Son basin, off Vietnam's southeast coast, in which ONGC has 45 per cent stake and PetroVietnam owns the remaining shares. BP is the operator of the block.

Deora is leading a high level delegation of officials of the petroleum ministry and heads of state-run oil companies, including ONGC, ONGC Videsh Ltd, Indian Oil Corporation and GAIL India Limited.

Given the historically strong relationship with Vietnam and the deep interest in each other's economic development, ONGC stands a better chance of getting BP's stake in the Vietnam venture.