Russia Deputy PM: India May Have Role in Sakhalin-3

Sakhalin 3
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MOSCOW Jan 22, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Russia is interested in attracting Indian capital into the Sakhalin-3 oil project off Russia's far eastern coast, the news agency ITAR-Tas reported Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov as saying Monday.

The east Siberian field of Vankor, located in the north of the giant Krasnoyarsk territory, is another project in which Russia may seek Indian involvement, he added.

Both of the projects named by Ivanov are led by state-controlled OAO Rosneft (ROSN.RS), which, along with gas monopoly OAO Gazprom (GSPBEX.RS), has all but formalized control of all significant new energy projects in Russia.

Sakhalin-3, one of a number of offshore blocks off the coast of the far east island, and Vankor are both geographically remote projects in the early stages of development, and likely to need billions of dollars in investment.

India, whose energy demand has surged in recent years, has lagged its neighbor China in securing specific energy supply deals or assets in Russia, although some suspect that the national champion Oil & Natural Gas Co. (500312.BY) may have bought into Rosneft's initial public offering last year as a strategic investor. The companies haven't confirmed this, however.

Ivanov was talking to journalists ahead of the planned visit to India Thursday by President Vladimir Putin, which is widely expected to feature announcements of stronger trade ties.

Ivanov also noted Monday that Russia and India plan to set up a joint venture for the manufacture of titanium products, including titanium dioxide.

He also said the two countries intend to sign an agreement over the construction of two new generating blocks at the Kydamkulan nuclear power plant site in India, including the supply of VVER-1000 reactor units.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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