ONGC bids for Russia's Arctic oil assets

India's state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is among six global companies that have bid for exploiting the giant Trebs and Titov oil deposits in Russia's Arctic region.

Five of Russia's largest oil companies, including OAO Lukoil, BP Plc's Russian venture TNK-BP, OAO Gazprom's oil unit and OAO Bashneft, have submitted bids for the rights to develop the country's largest unexploited fields. OAO Surgutneftegaz, another Russian oil company, has paid the entry fee before the 17 September deadline.

OAO Rosneft, Russia's largest oil producer, is reported to have dropped plans to bid for the Trebs and Titov oil fields as it wants to focus on its existing projects, which, according to its chief executive Eduard Khudainatov, are a "good set of highly promising" projects.

Russia's Interfax news agency said India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp also paid the fee via a Russian unit.

However, Russian natural resources minister Yuri Trutnev said these oil deposits are of strategic importance to Russia and the government has to decide whether ONGC can bid for the project.

He said at least five other oil companies are in the race to win development rights to the deposits.