India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Videsh Ltd; the overseas subsidiary of the country’s oil exploration giant; ONGC has indicated interests in Nigerian Government’s foreign investment drive in petroleum refinery. The country has expressed desires to set up a Greenfield refinery in Nigeria.
The cheery news was broken last week in far-away New Delhi by India’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Murli Deora at the India-Africa Hydrocarbon Conference.
The minister said "In efforts to broad-base our activities, ONGC Videsh is discussing setting up a Greenfield refinery in Nigeria.”.
The event was also attended by the Special Adviser to President Musa Yar’Adua on Petroleum Matters, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah.
The Indian minister was apparently responding to Egbogah’s request for increased participation of Indian energy companies in Nigeria, especially in the downstream sector.
"It’s my desire to see more Indian companies to be dominant in the oil industry in my country. I am impressed by Indian downstream sectors like the refinery hub at Jamnagar," he said
ONGC Videsh, along with Mittal Energy Ltd, is scheduled to build a downstream plant in Nigeria in return for two exploration blocks.
ONGC Videsh Ltd had in August 2005 won blocks 321 and 323, which hold in place reserves of two billion barrels each, after committing $ 485 m in signature bonus.
The two oil blocks were later snapped from the Indian oil firm by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and were awarded to Korean National Oil Company which the government claimed had first right of refusal over the blocks.
ONGC lost out to the Korean consortium as South Korea promised the Federal Government massive investment in infrastructure.
South Korea promised to build a 1,200-km (745-mile) gas pipeline from Port Harcourt to Abuja and 2,250 megawatts of power generation in return for the exploration rights.