ONGC Videsh Finds Oil in Three Exploration Wells in Iran

NEW DELHI, Nov 14, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

India's state-run ONGC Videsh Ltd. has struck oil in three offshore exploration wells drilled in the joint-venture Farsi block in Iran, a senior company executive said Tuesday.

ONGC Videsh is a wholly-owned overseas petroleum exploration unit of India's state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (500312.BY).

"The results have been very encouraging so far and further geological testing is going on to determine the extent of the commercially recoverable oil in the block," said the ONGC executive.

In all, the executive said four exploratory wells are to be drilled in the block and the fourth well is currently being drilled.

The Farsi block was awarded in 2002 by the National Iranian Oil Co. (NIO.YY) to a consortium comprising Indian state-run companies - ONGC Videsh, Indian Oil Corp. (530965.BY) and Oil India Ltd. (OIL.YY).

ONGC Videsh is the operator of the block, which spans around 35,000 square kilometers.

The executive said no time frame could immediately be given for the start of commercial oil production at the block.

Rising domestic demand has spurred ONGC Videsh to take stakes in exploration ventures in Russia, Vietnam, Syria, Sudan, Myanmar, Cuba, Brazil, Iraq, Libya, Ivory Coast, Colombia, Australia, Qatar and Egypt to supplement India's locally produced oil and gas.

ONGC is India's largest oil and gas producer by volume.

Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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