ONGC to bid for Israel offshore oil-and-gas blocks: report

India's state-run oil explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) plans to bid for offshore oil and gas exploration blocks in Israel, Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.

India and Israel, which have cemented their close defence ties with a groundbreaking trip by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Wes Asian country in July, is looking to further strengthen it through oil deals, a Reuters report said.

India, the world`s third-biggest oil consumer, had sent a high-level delegation to Israel last month to discuss plans to participate in the tender for blocks in the Mediterranean Sea and Israeli officials said they were pleased with the visit, Reuters reported quoting petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

India and Israel have deep defence ties but the Modi government is pushing to expand the relationship into other sectors such as energy and technology with a country they see as a natural ally against terrorism.

"We will definitely bid for Israel`s oil-and-gas blocks," Reuters quoted Pradhan as saying.

The announcement comes a day after Pradhan was elevated as cabinet minister in the ministry of petroleum with additional charge of the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship.