Moscow, Dec 27: Russia's decision to open up its oil and gas sector to Indian companies will significantly boost bilateral trade and the two sides are negotiating on some more acquisitions and projects in the hydrocarbons sector, India's envoy here P S Raghavan has said.
He said Russia considers its huge oil and gas reserves as strategic resources and is allowing Indian firms "extensive exposure" to them in sync with close bilateral ties. "This is really a rush by India into Russia's hydrocarbons sector," he told PTI.
He said Russia's decision to open up its oil and gas sector to Indian companies will significantly boost bilateral annual trade which is currently around USD 10 billion. A number of deals were struck between Indian and Russian oil firms during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit here last week.
The deals sealed in the oil sector include ONGC Videsh Ltd buying a 15 per cent stake in Russia's Vankorneft oil field for close to USD 1.3 billion. Vankorneft is Russia's second biggest oil field and is owned by oil behemoth Rosneft.
India, considered one of world's fastest growing energy markets, has been eyeing greater access to major gas and oil exploration projects in Russia and central Asian countries.
Raghavan said New Delhi had pressed Russia to open its oil and gas sector to Indian companies during summit talks between President Vladimir Putin and Modi in December last year and the Russian side now has heeded to the request.
"Russia is a major hydrocarbon power. We are a major hydrocarbon consumer. Our energy security depends on hydrocarbons. So there was a conscious decision that India should increase its footprint in Russia's hydrocarbons industry," Raghavan said. He said ONGC Videsh Ltd is exploring more acquisitions in Russian oil fields besides working on some other proposals.