Indian firms keen to invest in African oil assets: Pradhan

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) India has conveyed to African countries that took part in the just concluded fourth India Africa Hydrocarbons Conference that Indian companies are keen to invest in upstream assets in Africa, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday.

“We conveyed that Indian companies are keen to invest in upstream assets in Africa and are prepared to look at all opportunities on the table with an open mind”, Pradhan said addressing the closing session of the conference here.

“India will not be found wanting, whether by way of technical or managerial capability or resources,” he said.

The minister said Indian companies have expressed interest to partner African countries in developing city gas distribution projects, gas-based power and fertilizer plants as well as in laying cross-country gas pipelines.

During the conference, Pradhan held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from nine African countries as well as with other visiting delegations, the petroleum ministry said in a release here.

“During the bilateral meetings, it was also agreed to provide facilitating framework, wherever required, for public and private sector companies of India and the African countries to undertake oil and gas projects,” the statement said.

In her valedictory address at the conference, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called for India and Africa to work together and move from “energy poverty” towards “energy justice”.

As many as 25 African nations took part in the conference.

On the sidelines of the conference, state-run explorer ONGC’s overseas arm, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), signed an agreement with Equatorial Guinea for cooperation in oil and gas exploration in the African republic.

The pact was signed on January 20 “to cooperate in the upstream hydrocarbon sector in Equatorial Guinea”, said a statement issued by OVL, the overseas arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).

OVL, which currently has a stake in 36 projects in 17 countries, is alread present in Africa through participation in projects in Mozambique, Sudan and South Sudan.

India imports around 16 percent of its oil needs from Africa and imported 32 million tonnes last year.

Crude accounts for two third of Indian imports from Africa. Petroleum products account for a third of India’s exports to Africa.

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