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OVL Plans Deeper Foray In Sudan Oil, New Delhi
21 May, 2003

ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), the wholly-owned overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), has planned investments in more oilfields in Sudan. The petroleum ministry has initiated an exercise to identify areas for further strengthening its ties with Sudan in both upstream and downstream sectors.

OVL is buoyed by the success of its existing Rs 3,220 crore investment in Sudan in the Greater Nile Oil Project (GNOP), where it replaced Canadian oil major Talisman.

Top petroleum ministry officials confirmed that discussions are taking place with the Sudanese government on increasing India’s presence in its oil and gas sector. “Feelers in this regard have already been sent through Sudanese envoy Abdal Mahmood Abdal Haleem. A delegation from the ministry of petroleum and natural gas may accompany President Abdul Kalam during his forthcoming visit to Sudan,” officials said.

Petroleum ministry wants Sudan to offer some of its lucrative oil fields to ONGC’s OVL, on a nomination basis.

When contacted, ONGC chairman and managing director Subir Raha confirmed the move. “We are making all efforts to further strengthen our ties with Sudan in areas of exploration and production (E&P) as also on the human resource development (HRD) front. While feelers have been sent on awarding some oil fields on nomination basis, ONGC has also submitted bids for two exploration blocks in Sudan, where it is competing with some of the leading international oil companies,” he said.

Mr Raha said that ONGC would like to offer its technical expertise and workforce for carrying out exploration activities in Sudan through appropriate commercial arrangements.

Officials said that the ministry is also in the process of working out specific proposals where Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Gail India Limited can participate in the midstream and downstream oil sector in Sudan.

OVL recently picked up 25 per cent stake from the Canadian company Talisman in the Nile Oil Company in Sudan, which produces 12 million tonnes of crude annually. With this investment, India will get a quarter of production or three million tonnes of crude a year.

The GNOP is located in the Muglad Basin of Sudan, around 700 km South-West of the capital Khartoum. Oil is ferried via a pipeline from the fields to Port Sudan on the Red Sea, which is 930 miles away. The project is divided into two segments, i.e., (a) upstream and (b) downstream. The upstream segment is covered under an Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement and the downstream part is under a transportation agreement named Crude Oil Pipeline Agreement.

Courtesy: The Financial Express


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