India eyes larger stake in Russia''s oil and gas projects

Mumbai: The government will bat for an increased stake for Indian firms in future Sakhalin projects in Russia's Far East when Russian president Vladimir Putin visits New Delhi later this month.

While ONGC Videsh's 20 per cent stake in Sakhalin-I fields fetches the country 2.4-million tonnes of crude per annum, New Delhi wants an agreement between OVL and Russia's Rosneft for joint bidding for the Sakhalin-3 project.

OVL is eying the Trebs and Titov exploration blocks in Timan Pechora region, for which Rosneft will seek a partner, sources said.
OVL is also planning to seek an agreement with Rosneft for the development of the Vankor field, where Rosneft is seeking new partners, and a stake in the Kurmangazy field.

The government would also push its plan to convert Sakhalin-I gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG) for shipping it back home during the Russian president's visit, sources said.

India also wants OVL to form a joint venture with either Rosneft or Russian gas monopoly Gazprom to pursue other oil and gas exploration opportunities in that country.

While Russia has already firmed up Sakhalin-I and II projects, it is planning to invite bids in future for Sakhalin-III, IV, V and VI projects in the vast energy-rich region.

India, which imports over 70 per cent of its oil and gas requirements, will use Putin's visit to participate in country's Republic Day celebrations to push for an energy dialogue, sources pointed out.