Luanda: After having lost a major oilfield
because of Angola`s Sonangol, India`s Oil and Natural Gas Corp
(ONGC) on Wednesday signed an agreement with the oil-rich African
nation`s state-owned firm to bid together for future acreages.
A few years ago, ONGC Videsh Ltd had reached an agreement
with Shell to acquire the western energy major`s 50 per cent
stake in Block 18 for USD 620 million but the move was blocked
by Sonangol, which as the sole concessionaire for exploration
and production of oil in Angola, preferred Chinese companies.
Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, on his maiden African
Safari, courted Angola`s Oil Minister Jose Maria Botelho de
Vasconcelos for getting OVL a foothold, official sources said.
What followed was OVL, the overseas investment arm of
ONGC, signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with
Sonangol for joint bidding in Angola`s next bid round for oil
acreage as well as for collaboration in third countries.
At the meeting, IOC Chairman Sarthak Behuria offered to
participate in the Sonaref project for building a 10 million
tons refinery at Lobito. He also offered IOC assistance in
upgrading Angola`s two refineries, sources said.
GAIL Chairman B C Tripathi wanted to buy LNG from the
under-construction projects in Angola and also equity in a
second LNG plant being planned in that country.
Deora`s maiden visit to African began on January 24 in
Sudan. He then travelled to Nigeria and arrived here last
evening. He will leave for Uganda, the last stop on his four-
nation whirlwind tour. He will be back in India on January 28.