ONGC Videsh Consortium Finds Oil, Gas Offshore Iran

NEW DELHI May 09, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

A consortium led by India's ONGC Videsh Ltd. has recently struck oil and gas offshore Iran in what could be India's biggest hydrocarbon gas find overseas in recent years, an executive with one of the consortium partners said Wednesday.

This is the first major discovery of oil and gas by a consortium of Indian companies in Iran.

U.S. government is discouraging energy companies from investing in Iran and has voiced its concerns over the multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. The U.S. and other western governments accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons

Although it's unclear how much gas has been discovered, local media estimate that the offshore block could hold as much as 10 trillion cubic feet of gas.

"We are evaluating the find. It's premature to comment on the quantity of oil and gas," the executive said.

Stagnating domestic oil production is driving Indian oil companies to acquire energy assets abroad.

India imports nearly three-quarters of its crude requirement mostly from the Middle East.

So far OVL has struck oil in Egypt and gas in Myanmar.

OVL holds 40% stake and is the operator of the Farsi block while Indian Oil Corp. (530965.BY) and Oil India Ltd. hold the rest.

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

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