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ONGC and ConocoPhillips seal shale pact

Indian state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is forming an alliance with US supermajor ConocoPhillips in a bid to boost its shale gas capabilities ahead of India’s first shale-gas licensing round

The pair has teamed up under a broad memorandum of understanding, without any financial commitments yet.

ONGC said it wants access to ConocoPhillips’ shale-gas expertise and deep-water technology. The duo could also jointly bid for shale-gas assets overseas, said ONGC’s chairman Sudhir Vasudeva. India has plenty of shale-gas potential and plans to exploit it with the help of ConocoPhillips, he added.

India’s exploration players are increasingly seeking equity stakes in overseas shale-gas projects and partnerships with foreign experts ahead of the India’s first shale-gas licensing round, due next year.

Oil India, the second-biggest state-run explorer after ONGC, is also in talks with US-based outfits, including ConocoPhillips, to buy stakes in shale-gas assets.

The ONGC-ConocoPhillips shale-gas agreement mirrors recent developments in China, where international oil companies have scrambled to enter pacts with local firms.

The US Energy Information Administration has estimated India’s recoverable shale-gas reserves could be 69 trillion cubic feet over four basins.

Shale gas has the potential to help meet India’s rising energy demand, but the sector’s development has been stymied by the government’s lack of progress in formulating policy for unconventional resources.


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