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Petro deals with 9 countries likely

November 15, 2005 13:03 IST

With a view to securing its energy needs within the Asian community, India has lined up a series of bilateral agreements in the petroleum sector, to be signed next week with five Central Asian and three Asian countries, besides Turkey.

The agreements would coincide with the second round table of major Asian petroleum consumers and sellers to be held on November 25.

The round table will this time focus on the north and central Asian countries. India had hosted a similar round table with the West Asian sellers of hydrocarbon energy on January 6.

Next week's round table will be a corollary of the January conference since it will also focus on an "intra Asian dialogue" for stability, security and sustainability in the oil sector.

The round tables are part of India's vision to take the major Asian consumers along in its quest for hydrocarbon resources, though the first one did not bring any tangible gains regionally.

Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar's idea of an Asian energy market and an Asian index on the lines of Brent and West Texas Index for Europe and North America respectively, remained only on paper, said officials.

India was laying emphasis on Turkey's participation in the coming round table even though it did not come under the identified geographical area.

"We want to associate with Turkish companies which are already operating in the Central Asian countries. Besides, Turkey is the transit point for oil and gas headed for Europe. It also plays host to a number of transnational pipelines, the latest addition being the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline," said an official, adding the Turkish delegation would stay back for two more days for bilateral discussions.

Significant bilateral meetings in terms of tangible gains for Indian oil companies were likely to be signed with Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.

India was interested in the gas potential of Uzbekistan, which, officials claimed, could become the gas source for the region with an estimated reserves of 66.2 trillion cubic feet. Azerbaijan also had old refineries which Indian refiners could be interested in modernising, said the officials.

The senior officials told Business Standard that the buyer nations, which comprise India, China, Japan and Korea, would remain the same for the forthcoming round table, though on the seller side there would be participation from Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey. The countries were likely to be represented by their energy ministers, though in some cases it could also be deputy ministers.

India and China, with a consumption of 2.2 million barrels and 6.4 million barrels a day respectively, are among the five largest consumers of crude oil in the world.

The ministry of petroleum and natural gas is pushing for a series of agreements with China on strategising the policies of the two countries. Meetings with the Chinese delegation here were likely to be followed by Aiyar's visit to that country early next year.

India was likely to initiate five agreements with Korea, groundwork for which was done during Aiyar's visit to that country in September.

In the case of Japan, the focus would be on technology, research and development, safety, strategic storage and LNG facilities, besides pipelines. With Turkmenistan, India was already taking part as an observer in its pipeline to Pakistan via Afghanistan (TAP pipeline).

Another meeting of the steering committee of the pipeline was scheduled for early December which Aiyar was likely to attend.

Power factor

  • Significant bilateral meetings in terms of tangible gains for Indian oil companies likely to be signed with Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan
  • India is interested in the gas potential of Uzbekistan which, could become the gas source for the region with an estimated reserves of 66.2 trillion cubic feet
  • Buyer nations will comprise India, China, Japan and Korea, and seller side will have Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey
Jyoti Mukul in New Delhi
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