Indian firms keen to buy stakes in Africa's energy assets

State-run Indian Oil Corporation, Gas Authority of India Ltd and Petronet LNG are looking at buying equity stakes in energy firms and projects in Africa, senior ministers said Friday.

Addressing the 3rd India-Africa Hydrocarbons Conference here, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Indian companies were interested in buying equity stakes in oil and gas assets in Africa and other parts of the world in a bid to enhance the country's energy security.

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas S. Jaipal Reddy also said Indian firms were keen to enter partnerships and form joint ventures for enhancing oil and gas exploration activities in African countries.

"Africa's vast mineral and natural resources are largely untapped. India is keen to participate in the exploration and production opportunities," Reddy said.

India's oil companies are present in around 24 countries, including Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mauritius. The total overseas investment by India's public sector oil firms is around $13 billion, which includes two pipeline projects in Sudan and Myanmar.

Addressing the inaugural session of the two-day conference, Reddy said: "Our preferred approach would be to go in for joint ventures with Africa's national oil companies."

The minister said Indian firms like Gas Authority of India Ltd ( GAIL) and Indian Oil Corporation were interested in sourcing oil and liquefied natural gas on long-term basis from Africa.

He said Indian companies were also interested in exploring "possibilities of equity participation in existing or proposed LNG liquefication projects; business opportunities in gas processing and gas based petrochemical projects in Africa; and farm-in opportunities in producing gas blocks for conversion to LNG and dispatch to India".

Reddy told reporters on the sidelines of the event that India was interested in increasing import of oil and natural gas from African countries. "There is no limit, We are interested to buy as much oil and gas from Africa as we can."

Indian companies are also interested in farm-in opportunities in gas producing blocks, especially in Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria," he said.

(Source: The Economic Times)

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