India, Russia to Hold Talks Next Week on Sakhalin III Project

Dow Jones Newswires

NEW DELHI, Oct 27, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires) India and Russia next week will discuss strengthening energy ties, including India's possible participation in the Sakhalin-III oil and gas project, India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora said Friday.

India is seeking a minority stake in the coveted Sakhalin III acreage, off Russia's Far East coast, Deora told reporters on the sidelines of an industry event.

Deora travels to Moscow this weekend and will meet with Russia's Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko early next week.

India's ONGC Videsh Ltd., the overseas unit of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (500312.BY), owns a 20% stake in Sakhalin-I oil and gas project, which is operated by Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM).

Deora did not say which Indian company would participate in the project.

While in Moscow, Deora will also participate in International Energy Week "Moscow Energy Dialogue" conference.

India's state-run oil and gas exploration companies have been seeking energy assets abroad in a bid to secure a hedge against rising crude prices. India imports around 76% of its crude oil requirements from abroad.

Separately, Deora also said discussions were on with Iran and Pakistan on building a multi-billion-dollar transnational pipeline to carry gas. "Several meetings have been held and one or two more are still required," he said.

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