GCC offers oil for financial sector reforms in India

Mumbai: Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have offered to meet India's energy requirements from their huge oil and gas reserves once the country opens up its financial sector and carries out necessary reforms. The six member countries of the GCC will chip in long-term funds for investments in the country's infrastructure sector through their institutions, R Seetharaman, deputy CEO of the Qatar-based Doha Bank, said at a seminar in New Delhi.

India has sought massive investments of around Rs1,450,000 crore by the year 2012 for infrastructure development. Obviously, the country needs to further open its financial sector to tap long-term overseas funds, Seetharaman said. He said India also could leverage its human capital in IT, pharma and other sectors to make further inroads in these nations. He was making a presentation on behalf of the GCC.

And, if the economic opportunities are fully tapped the two-way trade between India and the GCC countries could go up from the current $16 billion to a whopping $120-125 billion a year, he said.

He said oil prices are unlikely to significantly come down in another couple of years and asked India to meet its energy security by importing oil and gas from GCC which had 45 per cent of world oil reserves and 24 per cent of gas reserve s.

The GCC countries are poised to invest $700 billion in the oil and gas sector, infrastructure, and real estate projects in three to four years, according to an International Monetary Fund survey. Gulf oil producers also continue to buy dollar-based assets with their rising oil revenues, although all the money will not flow into the US, the IMF said.

Gulf oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are expected to record current account surpluses of $239 billion this year and $259 billion in 2007, the IMF said.