ONGC has eyes on Sakhalin, may invest $3 billion in Rosneft IPO

Mumbai: Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), the country's top oil producer, is weighing a $3 billion investment plan for a five per cent equity stake in Russian state oil firm OAO Rosneft. Industry sources, however, say ONGC is eager to take up a stake in Russia's larger oil fields like Sakhalin-3, Vankor or Timano-Pechora in lieu of investing in Rosneft IPO.

ONGC is less interested in a portfolio investment, as its mandate is to scout for oil and gas abroad in order to meet energy security of the country.

"We are examining investing up to $3 billion in Rosneft IPO," petroleum secretary M S Srinivasan told reporters in New Delhi.

ONGC's overseas arm ONGC Videsh is in talks for participation in the $11.6 billion IPO. "Discussions are on and no decision has been taken as yet," he said.

The IPO values Rosneft at between $60 billion and $80 billion and a five per cent stake would mean $3-4 billion investment.

OVL see no problem in raising the amount, industry sources say, adding the hitch is that a portfolio investment would not give the energy-hungry nation oil and gas.