INDIA – Global energy giant Exxon Mobil Corp has entered into an agreement with India’s biggest state-owned explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd which will see the energy giant offer its expertise and technology to help India develop its resources in offshore blocks, according to a Reuters report.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU), developed in October this year, will be later signed as a definitive deal after Exxon studies the blocks of the company, one of the sources told Reuters.
“It is a non-binding agreement. It is a technical tie up. The MoU provides a framework to enable future tie ups between the two companies,” one of the sources said.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in a tweet that he “Witnessed the exchange of a MoU between ONGC and ExxonMobil to identify areas for exploration in deep water in east and west coast of India.”
ONGC and ExxonMobil will also jointly identify areas to submit bids for more exploration assets in India, he added.
India has in the recent past been generating a lot of interest worldwide in its oil and gas operations due to favourable government policies that have made investments and returns attractive.
ONGC is currently developing deep water oil and gas blocks in India’s east coast, which are expected to come onstream by 2020 and produce 15 million standard cubic meters per day (mscmd) of gas at its peak.
Exxon also signed another memorandum with India’s biggest refiner Indian Oil Corp Ltd in October this year to explore ways to supply liquefied natural gas to meet India’s 1burgeoning gas demand.
French energy major Total SA also announced that it would buy around 35% stake in India’s Adani Gas Ltd.
The oil and gas industry in India dates back to 1889 when the first oil deposits in the country were discovered near the town of Digboi in the state of Assam.
As on 31 March 2018, India had estimated crude oil reserves of 594.49 million tonnes (MT) and natural gas reserves of 1339.57 billion cubic meters (BCM).
India currently imports 82% of its oil needs and aims to bring that figure down to 67% by 2022 by replacing it with local exploration, renewable energy and indigenous ethanol fuel.