ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), has signed an agreement to expand its oil and gas exploration in offshore Vietnam.
The Indian flagship firm will consider exploring in 2-3 blocks out of the 5 areas in South China Sea that Vietnam had offered on nomination basis in November last year.
The five blocks or areas - 17, 41, 43, 10&11-1 and 102&106/10, offered in November last year lie outside the territory claimed by China in the South China Sea.
"OVL and PetroVietnam, the major oil producing state-owned company of Vietnam, signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) on September 15 to participate in the exploration of oil and gas in offshore Vietnam," the company said in a statement here.
The LoI was signed by OVL Managing Director Narendra K Verma and PetroVietnam President and CEO Do Van Hau in Hanoi during the state visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to Vietnam.
Oil Minister Dharmendr was also present at the signing.
"The LoI provides for expansion of exploration activities by OVL in Vietnam by considering participation in 2-3 additional blocks subject to technical and commercial viability and requisite approvals," it said.
In turn, PetroVietnam may consider participation in some of the exploration blocks of OVL on mutually agreeable terms subject to due-diligence.
OVL forayed into Vietnam as early as 1988, when it bagged the exploration license for Block 06.1. The company got two exploration blocks - Block 127 and Block 128, in 2006.
However, Block 127 was relinquished after completing the work programme, and the other Block 128 is currently under exploration.
Additionally, ONGC Videsh and PetroVietnam have been engaged in further discussions for possible expansion of cooperation in hydrocarbon sector of Vietnam, the statement said.
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