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11

India, China to Explore Jointly in Third Countries

India and China inked a major pact on the joint exploration

India and China inked a major pact on the joint exploration, production and acquisition of oil assets in third countries which could substantially reduce their energy costs.

?It is a historic moment for India-China relations,? minister for petroleum and natural gas Mr Murli Deora said while disclosing that the two major oil consumers have recently concluded a joint bid in Columbia and Syria.

Mr Deora said the Memorandum of Understanding between the two governments, signed at the fag end of the joint celebration of ?India-China Friendship Year? would allow oil and gas companies of the two countries to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation in acquiring hydrocarbon assets in third countries without undercutting each other.

The MoU is the second in the key petroleum sector in as many days between the two Asian giants, who have been fiercely competing with each other for access to hydrocarbons assets globally, benefiting only the sellers.

?This agreement will help both India and China to acquire oil blocks around the world in partnership which will help both countries as has been proved in Columbia and Syria recently,? the minister said.

Secretary, petroleum and natural gas, Mr MS Srinivasan, however, said that the MoU does not mean that henceforth Indian and Chinese oil and gas companies will not compete against each other for oil assets.
?We cannot avoid competition. However, where we can avoid competition, we will try to cooperate and jointly bid for oil and gas assets worldwide,? Mr Srinivasan clarified.
?This is definitely a major boost for us,? MD of ONGC Videsh, Mr RS Butola said.