An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Kazakh head to Delhi: tap our Caspian Sea oilfield

Had discussed the Oil scenario and the rivalry of India and China! It seems this is a win for India.. remember sometime back China’s oil company CNOOC had won a big on PetroKazakh? Well.. Lakshmi Mittal and ONGC had joined hands.. and LN Mittal has substantial interests in Kazakhakstan.. even the Indian Govt. has good relations there.. this seems to have been a joint effort if its what it promises to be!

India is all set to tap Central Asia’s rich energy sector with Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev willing to reconsider equity for New Delhi in the billion tonne Kurmangazy oilfield in the Caspian Sea area.

Nazarbayev made this offer, crucial for India’s energy security grid, to External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh while he was in Almaty ten days ago for the CICA security conference.

The Kazakh offer has been conveyed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar is expected to lead a delegation soon to Almaty to rebid for the so-called Golden Block.

India’s ONGC-Videsh had bid for equity in exploration of Kurmangazy in November 2002 but New Delhi’s offer was not considered competitive by the Kazakh government.

But keen to take his country’s relations with India onto a new plane, Nazarbayev has assured Natwar Singh that if New Delhi even matches the competitive bid, he would personally ensure that preference is given to Indian exploration companies.

Situated on the Kazakh-Russian border in north Caspian Sea, Kurmangazy is to be jointly developed by Kazakh National Oil and Rosneft-Gazprom companies at an estimated cost of $10 billion.

New Delhi wants 10 per cent equity from the Kazakh share and is keen to get another 10 per cent from the Russian share. It’s learnt that the Ministry of Petroleum had earmarked $500 million for picking up 10 per cent equity from the Kazakh side when ONGC-Videsh bid in 2002.

Nazarbayev’s offer has led to a flurry of activity in South Block. ONGC-Videsh is now being asked to prepare a revised bid that will be discussed during Aiyar’s proposed trip to Kazakhstan.

Aiyar has been advised to take with him representatives of ONGC, GAIL and IOC.

Nazarbayev has assured New Delhi that he would personally monitor the progress of negotiations not only in Kurmangazy but in other areas that have the potential to push bilateral ties.

The Kazakh president, whose wife visits India frequently, has also invited Indian participation in government-funded projects in construction and industrial sectors.

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