One block in Uzbekistan also offered

Vietnam’s offer to India for exploring gas and oil blocks in the South China Sea is in areas where there is no dispute over sovereignty.

Vietnam’s offer for third country exploration pertains to a block in Uzbekistan – a country with which both New Delhi and Hanoi enjoy excellent political ties, said official sources.

PetroVietnam and PetroVietnam Exploration Corporation have offered three blocks each, while the seventh is the Kossor block in Uzbekistan.

ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) signed an MoU to this effect with the two Vietnamese companies, after delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the country’s top leader Nguyen Phu Trong.

Free to pick and choose

OVL plans to study the data on the blocks and has the option to pick and choose. It can even take all or none of the blocks, said the sources.

OVL will evaluate blocks 17, 41 and 43 on an exclusive basis in the next three months and in case commercial viability is found, it will provide PetroVietnam with its proposal for entering into a production sharing contract (PSC). It will do the same with blocks 10&11-1 and 102&106/10 as well as the Kossor block in Uzbekistan.