ONGC head: Talks on Iran Projects will Take Time

A00164408.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), India’s top explorer, was in talks to develop oil and gas fields in Iran but a definitive agreement was still some way off, the company’s chairman said on Thursday.

ONGC, through its overseas investment arm ONGC Videsh Ltd, and the Hinduja Group are together eyeing a role in developing the South Pars Phase 12 gas field and the Azadegan oil asset.

“It is too early to set a time frame,” R.S. Sharma, chairman and managing director at ONGC, told reporters.

On Wednesday, Sharma had said a meeting with Iranian officials was tentatively planned for mid-April, after which a participatory agreement could be signed.

“A lot of ground has to be covered before reaching a stage of signing a definitive agreement,” he said.

A venture in Iran would be ONGC Videsh’s second entry into the hydrocarbon-rich nation, where it operates the Farsi block.

Iran is drawing interest from Indian and Chinese firms that are keen to tap the world’s second-largest reserves of oil and gas and are less susceptible than many other western companies to US pressure over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Iran and China’s Sinopec recently signed a deal to develop the huge Yadavaran oil field.

Iran is the world’s fourth-largest crude oil exporter and Azadegan, located in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, was its biggest oil find in 30 years when it was announced in 1999.

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