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India on shopping spree for oil assets

March 23, 2006 16:01 IST

Energy-hungry India is scouting for oil and gas assets in Central Asia, Africa and Latin America to feed the requirements of its rapidly expanding economy.

"India is actively looking for assets both in terms of equity participation and exploration and production contracts in Central Asia, West and Central Africa and Latin America," Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said at TERI's sixth Oil and Gas Conference in New Delhi.

With domestic oil production barely meeting 27 per cent of the demand, India has been on a buying spree.

"India's crude oil self-sufficiency declined from 63 per cent in 1989-90 to 30 per cent in 2000-01. The situation is only likely to get worse in the future," he said.

Indian firms have committed over $4.5 billion (about Rs 19,800 crore) in 14 countries including Australia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Libya, Myanarm, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Sudan, Syria and Vietnam.

Talks were on to acquire oil assets in Bangladesh, Brazil, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Myanmar, Sierra Leone, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Yemen.

Domestic production, he said, is likely to rise from 26 million tonnes to 52 million tonnes in 2011-12 and to 80 million tonnes in 2024-25. "But India's demand for oil is expected to increase from 122 million tonnes to 196 million tonnes in 2011-12, and 364 million tonnes in 2024-25. By 2024-25, crude oil self-sufficiency would be a mere 15 per cent."

Sharma said natural gas availability was 83 million standard cubic meters per day as against the demand of 155 mmscmd. This demand is expected to rise to nearly 400 mmscmd in 20 years.

"In order to meet its gas requirements, India is vigorously pursuing gas pipeline projects both on its eastern and western land frontiers," Sharma said, adding that pipeline projects to import gas from Iran and Myanmar were under various stages of discussion.

"The Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline is expected to bring nearly 90 mmscmd of gas, which will be utilised to fuel power and fertiliser projects in North and North Western India.

"In the East, the Myanmar-Bangladesh-India pipeline will not only bring Myanmar gas, but would also possibly carry Tripura gas to India, and Bangladesh gas from its eastern part where it is produced to the western part where it required," he said.

India has also agreed to participate in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline, initially as an observer.

"Turkmenistan reserves at Daulatabad may be seen not just as the sole source of gas in the project but as the junction to which gas from neighbouring countries, such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and possibly Russia could be injected," he said.

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