Govt inks pact with Colombia for cooperation in hydrocarbon secto

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New Delhi, Sep 5 (UNI) The government today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Colombia in the hydrocarbon sector with a view to expanding its global reach to augment energy security.

The agreement was signed between Petroleum Minister Murli Deora and his counterpart Hernan Martinez Torres here.

''This umbrella agreement in hydrocarbon sector will strengthen the relationship between the two countries...and open up the avenues for association of other companies both from public and private sector of both countries,'' Mr Deora said.

Under the deal, both countries will cooperate each other in joint participation in all the facets of hydrocarbon chain, including exploration and production, transportation, marketing, refinery, LPG, and LNG.

Mr Torres said the agreement would allow an exchange of technical knowledge between the two countries.

''There is a significant opportunity for us Colombians to benefit from Indian expertise in engineering,'' he said.

The agreement also includes cooperation between the two countries in joint participation of national oil companies from both sides in exploration and development in Colombia, India and another countries.

Each side will form a Joint Working Group in energy sector that will be the nodal agency entrusted to jointly carry out the objectives of the agreement.

The Joint Working Group will also frame up modalities and monitor the progress of objectives set out in the agreement.

With the country growing at seven per cent a year, Mr Torres invited the Indian companies to invest in Colombia.

''We need private investment,'' he said.

ONGC Videsh Ltd, the nodal agency engaged in overseas exploration and production, has been operating in Colombia since 2006, in a joint venture with China's Sinopec.

Colombia, the fifth-largest oil reserves in South America, has about 1.5 billion barrels of crude reserves and 5,25,000 barrels of oil production a day.

UNI SBA SG DS1630

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