Petroleum Minister leads Indian delegation to St Petersburg International Economic Forum

New Delhi: Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited St Petersburg, Russia from 16 to 17 June 2016 to represent India at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). SPIEF is the leading economic event of Russia, drawing participation of important political leaders and some of the largest companies and global business leaders.

The hallmark of the visit was the signing of a Sales Purchase Agreement for acquisition of 23.9 per cent stake in Vankor oil block by an Indian Consortium of Oil India Ltd., Indian Oil and Bharat Petro Resources Ltd. (subsidiary of BPCL) with ROSNEFT. This follows acquisition of 15 per cent stake in Vankor by OVL for which all formalities were completed on 31st May 2016. The signing of agreement was witnessed by Pradhan and his Russian counterpart Mr Alexander Novak.

Pradhan held meetings with Igor Sechin, President of ROSNEFT, Leonid Mikhelson, CEO of Novatek and Alexey Miller CEO of Gazprom, the leading Russian oil and gas companies. He discussed broadening India-Russia cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector. The Minister briefed the CEOs on government’s recent policy announcements and investment opportunities in the hydrocarbon sector, including on the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy and Small Discovered fields bidding round.

At the SPIEF, Pradhan participated in the Panel discussion on ‘New Global Petroleum Market Realities’ along with Russian and Venezuelan Energy Minister. The panel discussion was moderated by Daniel Yergin, who is considered a leading authority on energy, geopolitics and the global economy, and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Pradhan elaborated on emerging investment opportunities in the exploration and production sector. CEOs of global oil majors appreciated recent reforms in Indian hydrocarbon sector.

The Petroleum Minister also visited St Petersburg and held meetings with Alenxander Novak, Minister for Energy of Russia, Alexander Dyukov, CEO of Gazpromneft. Both ministers discussed the entire gamut of oil and gas relations between India-Russia and expressed satisfaction on the ongoing cooperation between the two countries in the hydrocarbon sector. Both Ministers agreed that cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector was one of the key areas of the time tested and Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia. They expressed happiness on the conclusion of all formalities relating to the acquisition of 15% stake by ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) in Vankorneft, a subsidiary of Rosneft of Russia. Both Ministers also discussed on further deepening the engagement, including two way investments in the sector. Pradhan briefed his Russian counterpart on the issues related to Mineral Extraction Tax being contemplated by the Russian government and its effects on Indian investments. He also invited Rosneft, Gazprom and other Russian companies to invest in Indian hydrocarbon sector, including in the recently launched auction of Small Discovered Fields.

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