ONGC, Russia's Rosneft may join forces on oil flows

MOSCOW Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:07pm IST

An engineer of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) works inside the Kalol oil field in Gujarat September 12, 2009. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

An engineer of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) works inside the Kalol oil field in Gujarat September 12, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave/Files

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Rosneft (ROSN.MM), the world's top listed oil producer by output, may join forces with Indian state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC.NS) to supply oil to India over the long term, the Russian state-controlled company said on Tuesday.

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, travelled to India on Sunday, part of a wider Asian trip to shore up ties with eastern allies at a time when Moscow is being shunned by the West over its annexation of Crimea.

With EU nations threatening to cut their reliance on Russian oil and gas, Russian officials have started to look East.

Rosneft said it had also agreed with ONGC they may join forces in Rosneft's yet-to-be built liquefied natural gas plant in the far east of Russia to the benefit of Indian consumers.

Rosneft did not provide any additional details on its planned cooperation with ONGC.

The company said Sechin and the head of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) also met and discussed potential cooperation in developing Russia's offshore resources, viewed by Moscow as a source of future oil production growth.

India was the last country in Sechin's Asian trip, where he also visited Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.

Russia is the world's top oil producer, pumping over 10 million barrels per day but mostly from west Siberian deposits, which are running out. Moscow is betting on offshore and unconventional oil to maintain the level.

At the same time, Russia is trying to diversify its energy flows away from its core European markets, with Rosneft leading the race with plans to triple oil flows to China to over 1 million barrels per day in coming years.

Rosneft said Sechin also discussed potential shipments of Russia's East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil blend to India's biggest refiner Indian Oil Corporation (IOC.NS) but did not provide details.

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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