INDIA – Global energy giant Exxon Mobil
Corp has entered into an agreement with India’s biggest state-owned explorer
Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd which will see the energy giant offer its
expertise and technology to help India develop its resources in offshore
blocks, according to a Reuters report.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU), developed
in October this year, will be later signed as a definitive deal after Exxon
studies the blocks of the company, one of the sources told Reuters.
“It is a non-binding agreement. It is a
technical tie up. The MoU provides a framework to enable future tie ups between
the two companies,” one of the sources said.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in a
tweet that he “Witnessed the exchange of a MoU between ONGC and ExxonMobil
to identify areas for exploration in deep water in east and west coast of India.”
ONGC and ExxonMobil will also jointly
identify areas to submit bids for more exploration assets in India, he added.
India has in the recent past been
generating a lot of interest worldwide in its oil and gas operations due to favourable
government policies that have made investments and returns attractive.
ONGC is currently developing deep water oil
and gas blocks in India’s east coast, which are expected to come onstream by
2020 and produce 15 million standard cubic meters per day (mscmd) of gas at its
Exxon also signed another memorandum with
India’s biggest refiner Indian Oil Corp Ltd in October this year to explore
ways to supply liquefied natural gas to meet India’s 1burgeoning gas demand.
French energy major Total SA also announced
that it would buy around 35% stake in India’s Adani Gas Ltd.
The oil and gas industry in India dates
back to 1889 when the first oil deposits in the country were discovered near
the town of Digboi in the state of Assam.
As on 31 March 2018, India had estimated
crude oil reserves of 594.49 million tonnes (MT) and natural gas reserves of
1339.57 billion cubic meters (BCM).
India currently imports 82% of its oil
needs and aims to bring that figure down to 67% by 2022 by replacing it with local
exploration, renewable energy and indigenous ethanol fuel.