(Corrects spelling to Magadan)
By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Russia has invited Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC) to consider buying a stake in the Magadan 2 field operated by Rosneft (ROSN.MM) in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, its deputy energy minister said on Sunday.
India, which imports about 80 percent of its oil needs, is on the hunt for supplies to power its near-$2-trillion economy, while Russia is keen to tap its vast offshore reserves.
“We have suggested that ONGC look at (investing in) Magadan 2,” Russian Energy Deputy Minister Yury Sentyurin told reporters on the sidelines of energy conference Petrotech.
He said he had made the proposal to Indian oil ministry officials at the India Russia Joint Working Group meeting on Saturday.
The New Delhi government has told state firms to secure energy assets overseas as the country’s own output is well below demand in an economy expected to grow 6.5 percent this year, and already suffering hefty power shortfalls.
Sentyurin added that the size of any possible stake was up for negotiation.
D. K. Sarraf, Managing Director of ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of ONGC, confirmed that the company has viewed data relating to the field.
Russia granted exploration licenses for five areas in the Sea of Okhotsk – Magadan-1, -2 and -3, Lisyansky and Kashevarovsky – to Rosneft without bidding at the end of last year.
Recoverable resources in the area are estimated at 2.8 billion tonnes of oil equivalent, according to Rosneft’s annual report.
Rosneft recently teamed up with Norway’s Statoil (STL.OL) in four new joint ventures, including exploring the Magadan 1, Lisyansky and Kashevarovsky license blocks, with prospective recoverable resources at more than 1.4 billion tonnes.
ONGC already has a stake in Russia’s Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project in the Pacific, and in 2008 it bought the Imperial Energy oil company in western Siberia.
(Editing by Louise Heavens)