Possibility of pumping Russian oil by pipeline to India will be studied

Indian state-owned oil company Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is interested in exploring for oil and gas in the Arctic offshore with Russian partners, leaders of the two countries said after the summit talks here on Monday.

The two sides will study the possibility of pumping Russian oil and gas by pipeline to India, while agreeing on the significance of supplying Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) to India.

A joint statement, issued after President Vladimir Putin hosted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Kremlin, contained no energy breakthroughs, however.

India has struggled to expand its upstream foothold in Russia, despite a security relationship dating back to the Cold War and the two countries’ membership in the BRICS caucus of emerging economies that includes India, Brazil and South Africa.

ONGC’s overseas arm is a partner in the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project, which is operated by a unit of Exxon Mobil. State oil major Rosneft, another Sakhalin-1 partner, is lobbying for the right to export LNG to Asia-Pacific buyers.

Rosneft and Exxon have announced plans to build a $15-billion LNG plant to process Sakhalin-1 gas, to be launched in 2018 with an initial capacity of five million tonnes a year.

Offshore oil resources

Russia estimates its offshore oil resources at 100 billion tonnes, which would be enough to satisfy global demand for 25 years at current levels of consumption.

Rosneft already has agreements with ExxonMobil, Eni and Statoil to explore for Arctic deposits. These projects are unlikely to produce any oil or gas before the 2020s.

“The sides noted the importance of cooperation to organise long-term supplies of hydrocarbons to India from Russia, conducive to strengthening India’s energy security and diversification of energy exports from Russia through LNG supplies to India,’’ the statement adds. The two nations reaffirmed their commitment to implement the December, 2010, agreement on the Enhancement of Cooperation in Oil and Gas Sector.