Desperately seeking to clear regulatory hurdles in its way of acquiring two new assets based out of Huston, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Videsh Ltd. (OVL) has approached the U.S. authorities and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to remove misgivings over its presence in countries facing U.S. sanctions.

While participating in the recently-concluded India-U.S. Energy Dialogue held in Washington last week, the Managing Director of OVL, D. K. Sarraf, met a number of corporate and OFAC lawyers to understand the issues related to OVL’s entry into the U.S., particularly considering OVL’s legacy presence in `sanctioned countries’.

“His meetings come at a time when OVL is actively pursuing an opportunity to acquire an asset in the U.S. However, it is faced with regulatory issues such as the U.S. government approval for export of gas to non-FTA countries, and OVL’s presence in some of the OFAC countries. This was an ideal opportunity for OVL to articulate its position on matters related to initiating business in the U.S. by Indian State-owned exploration and production companies and specifically OVL,’’ a senior Petroleum Ministry official said.

Strategic issues

“OVL is pursuing two significant acquisition opportunities from two different oil majors both headquartered in Huston (U.S.). Mr. Sarraf met the heads of these oil majors to discuss strategic issues concerning the acquisition. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry has also asked the Ministry of External Affairs to pursue with the U.S. waiving off the restriction of export of gas to non-FTA countries which will open opportunities for Indian companies.

The matter is under discussion stage,’’ the official added, refusing name the two U.S. companies.