India for cooperation in Hydrocarbon sector

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New Delhi, Jun 23 (UNI) As the world's top energy policy makers engage in urgent talks on halting oil's spiralling rally, the Indian delegation held bilateral meetings with the Energy Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria, focussing on enhancing cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.

Soon after their arrival at Jeddah on Saturday, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora called on Mr Ali I al-Naimi, Saudi Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister.

The Indian side complimented Saudi Arabia for taking the timely initiative to address the issue of high global crude oil prices by convening the Jeddah energy meeting of oil producer and consumers countries.

They discussed the current oil price scenario and its adverse impact on developing countries like India.

The two sides also deliberated on remedial measures that need to be taken to address the situation.

The Indian side assured its commitment to remain fully engaged with the international community in this endeavour.

The meetings were held in a ''warm and cordial atmosphere'', an official release here said.

Mr Deora, who also met Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari on the sidelines of the meeting, reiterated India's commitment to take the Project forward and briefed about the progress made during the Islamabad meeting in April 2008.

The talks covered various aspects of bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector including the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project. A trilateral ministerial meeting is expected to be held at Teheran in July 2008 to discuss the issues further.

During their meeting, Mr Deora and Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez reviewed the progress of bilateral cooperation since Mr Deora's visit to Caracas in April 2008. The two Ministers expressed satisfaction at the progress made in implementing the joint venture (JV) between ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) and PDVSA (Venezuela) for development of San Cristobal oilfield.

A bilateral meeting was also held between Mr Deora and Nigerian Energy Minister Dr Odein Ajumogobia which covered various activities in the hydrocarbon sector.

Both sides reviewed the progress of the existing projects and expressed satisfaction on the smooth working.

At present, OVL-OMEL JV has three blocks while OVL and OIL-IOC has participating interest in one exploration block each. The Indian side sought support for allotment of more exploration blocks to Indian companies in Nigeria. To Mr Deora's suggestion on favourable long-term relations in supply of crude oil and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to India, the Nigerian Minister assured positive consideration in view of the long-standing bilateral relations.

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