ONGC Seeks Closer Ties with Africa and Latin America

India will enter into a deeper diplomatic dialogue with African countries like Nigeria and Sudan, as well as Latin American countries like Venezuela, Columbia and Ecuador, in a bid to ensure enduring supplies of Oil & Gas from these countries to India, which is currently sixth in the world, in terms of energy demand.

Hon'ble Minister of External Affairs Mr. Natwar Singh, told this during his valedictory address of Petrotech-2005, which ended in New Delhi on January 19.

Estimates point that the Oil production of sub-Saharan African countries will almost double by 2008.

Mr. Natwar Singh said, "Apart from harnessing technology to maximize production of Oil and Gas from within the national boundaries, we need to step up diplomatic efforts to insure immediate energy security of the country".

Referring to the announcement of the fifth round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) by the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar, the External Affairs Minister said that the two ministries should work together to assure the nation of its much-required sustainability in energy supplies.

"India is not alone in its import dependence, as countries like USA, Japan and China are importing a sizeable part of their Oil and Gas requirements".

The External Affairs Minister concluded that trans-national pipelines for bringing in Natural Gas from countries like Myanmar and Iran through Bangladesh and Pakistan would not only help the economies of the countries, but also promote regional cooperation.

The valedictory session of this sixth Petrotech Conference, organized by ONGC, was also attended by Mr. Arjun Sengupta, who is currently the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Oil Diplomacy and Energy Security.

Speaking in the context of importance of Oil in the political economy of the world, Mr. Sengupta said that there has been a change in the equation between the producing and the consuming nations. The earlier regime is now giving way to a cooperative environment, and India, known for its non-aligned approach, is an active party in fostering such cooperation.