Govt decision on Cairn-Vedanta deal likely in few weeks

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Mumbai, Jan 17 (PTI) The Government is likely to takea decision on the USD 9.6-billion Cairn-Vedanta deal in thenext few weeks and that the decision would be taken on merits,a top official said.

"There is absolutely no delay on the part of theGovernment regarding the Cairn-Vedanta deal. We will come to adecision on this (deal) in the course of the next few weeks.

The decision will be taken on merits," Oil Secretary, SSundareshan, told reporters here today.

The Anil Agarwal-promoted London-based Vedanta isacquiring a majority stake in Cairn India fromEdinburgh-based Cairn Energy for a consideration of up to USD9.6-billion.

Cairn India is a three-way joint venture with Cairn,domestic oil and gas major ONGC and Petronas of Malaysia.

Presently, the Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy holds a 62.37 percent stake in Cairn India.

"We have told them (Cairn Energy) that we will require8-10 weeks to examine all the issues and only then we willtake the final decision," he said.

On the controversy over the payment for oil importsfrom Iran, Sundareshan said, "the flow of oil will not stopand National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) will continue tosupply oil to the Indian oil companies and we are hopeful of asettlement very soon."

He said that a high-level delegation comprising ofofficials from the Reserve Bank, State Bank of India, theMinistry of Finance, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas,Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) and Indian Oilhad gone to Iran to discuss the issue.

"Until a final settlement is worked out, oil supplieswill continue and we are hopeful of a settlement very soon,"he said.

Following the increase in the prices of crude oil toUSD 92-93 per barrel, he said that the under-recoveries werelikely to reach Rs 72,000-crore by end-this fiscal.

On divestment in ONGC and Indian Oil, Sundareshansaid, "the ONGC FPO will hit the market by end-this fiscal. Weplan to raise around Rs 13,000-14,000-crore through thedivestment. However, due to fluctuations in crude oil prices,the Indian Oil FPO will take place only in the next fiscal,"he said.

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