ONGC mining for uranium, mulls partnership with NPCIL

New Delhi: Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), India's biggest energy company, has started mining for uranium and is looking forward to invest in nuclear plants in partnership with state-owned nuclear utility the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) in a bid to diversify its growth plans.

In reports emerging today ONGC chairman AK Hazarika said his company was already in talks with NPCIL for a potential partnership.

''It's very much a demand story and we would want to be helping meet most of India's energy demand,'' Hazarika was quoted as saying. ''We are looking to get into related businesses for our next phase of growth.''

Hazarika said his state-run company has started mining for uranium in the Cauvery area in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu in partnership with Uranium Corp of India Ltd (UCIL) and had plans to explore in the state of Andhra Pradesh as well, he said.

ONGC was yet to determine the size of its planned investment in the nuclear sector, Hazarika said, declining to say when a decision would be taken. The company had about Rs19,000 crore ($4.26 billion) in cash as of 30 June, he said.

''Money will not be a problem,'' Hazarika was quoted as saying. ''The important thing is to be able to grow. We are generally looking to get into all kinds of clean energy businesses.''