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Rosneft offers OVL stake in 11 projects

February 23, 2005 11:10 IST
Russia's state-owned oil major Rosneft has offered India's ONGC Videsh Ltd stake in 11 oil and gas projects in Russia including Yuganskneftegaz,  former Yukos core asset, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said.

"We have agreed on a basket of discovered fields and producing property in Russia, which might include Sakhalin-3, Vankor and number of others. Rosneft has indicated that they would want to take ONGC along in 11 identified projects," Aiyar said at the end of his two day Moscow visit on Tuesday night.

Expressing his inability to elaborate due to 'confidentiality clause' Aiyar said, "Eleven potential projects are under consideration in Russia. In the course of few days, or to be precise, in due course OVL and Rosneft are to issue a joint statement identifying these projects."

He, however, indicated that some of these projects might require President Vladimir Putin's intervention.

Responding to a question about ONGC picking a stake in embattled Yukos' former core asset - Yuganskneftegaz, Aiyar said, "We are very much on board."

The issue of Yuganskneftegaz was discussed by Aiyar during his talks with Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko, "Khristenko said that dialogue on Yugansk should continue without full stops. While the Rosneft CEO Sergei Bogdanchikov removed the remaining comas and semicolons," Aiyar said.

He identified two constraining reasons for inability to take a quick decision on Yuganskneftegaz: first, lack of final decision on merger of Rosneft and Gazprom; second -outstanding issues of Yukos and its assets, specially the US Court.

Aiyar believes that US Sovereign Immunity Act of 1976 might prevent challenge of Rosneft, a cent-percent Russian government company in the US Courts over acquisition of Yukos core asset. "Settling these issues might take a week or a month," Aiyar said.

He denied making an offer of investing $25 billion by India in Russia's oil industry as widely reported by local and Western media.

"No letter has been written to Prime Minister Fradkov, no indications have been made on the amount for investment," Aiyar said denying a report published in influential financial daily "Vedomosti" on Tuesday.

Aiyar clarified that ONGC chairman had written to the Russian government that it is a 'zero debt' company and has the capability to raise up to $25 billion if and when required, without going to the capital market.

"This is kind of a glass ceiling and this amount is for all foreign investments, not only in the Russian projects," Aiyar underscored.
Vinay Shukla
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