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Home > Business > PTI > Report

L N Mittal to meet PM on Friday

July 06, 2006 17:50 IST

Steel baron Lakshmi Mittal, on his first visit to India after acquiring world No.2 steel firm Arcelor, will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday and share a platform with state-owned ONGC, with whom he is stitching a partnership for overseas oilfield acquisition.

L N Mittal, chairman and CEO of Mittal Steel and director on the board of ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd - the joint venture company of Mittal Steel and ONGC, which recently won two lucrative oil fields in Nigeria - will address a joint press conference with ONGC chairman and managing director R S Sharma on Friday afternoon, industry sources said.

While the press conference has been officially called to "share developments related to OMEL", Mittal's other meetings would be to further investment in steel sector in India, one of the two countries the merged Mittal-Arcelor has identified for expansion.

Besides meeting Navin Patnaik, Chief Minister of Orissa, where Mittal Steel is looking at investment opportunities, he would meet Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora.

The steel baron would also review the progress made in the 12 million tonne steel plant project at an estimated investment of Rs 40,000 crore (Rs 400 billion) in Jharkhand, for which he had signed an MoU with the state government last year.

In Jharkhand, Mittal's India operation has sought a Letter of Comfort seeking iron from Chiria mines but the state government in turn wanted Mittals to make at least 25 per cent of the investment committed by it.

In its maiden venture in an international bidding round, OMEL had won Blocks OPL 209 and OPL 212 in the Nigeria 2006 Mini Bid Round.  The recoverable reserves potential estimated from a few clearly delineated prospects in the blocks are expected to be over one billion barrels of oil and oil equivalent gas.

OMEL is registered in Cyprus.  ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp, holds 49.98 per cent equity and Mittal Investment Sarl holds 48.02 per cent. The balance 2 per cent is with SBI Caps.

Last year, OVL had signed an MoU with Mittal Investment Sarl, the investment holding arm of Mittal Steel, the world's largest steel company, to form ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd.

The brain behind this partnership of Indian goliaths was to leverage the mutual strengths and effectively supplement the efforts of the ONGC Group of companies in securing global footprint in the grand race for acquiring oil and gas assets, sources said.

OMEL would be pumping in almost $6-bn back-to-back infrastructure support to Nigeria in return for the blocks.

The process of getting a toe-hold in Nigeria was initiated in November last when the LN Mittal group used its proximity to the Nigerian government to initiate talks on the oil business.

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