OVL returns empty-handed from Hanoi visit

Vol 14, PW 4 (12 Aug 10) People & Policy

ONGC Videsh will have a tough time buying BP’s stake in the producing shallow water gasfields at Block 06.1 in Vietnam, also known as the Nam Con Son gas project.

PETROWATCH learns a four-member team from ONGC Videsh travelled to Hanoi this month but returned empty handed. Led by OVL director exploration Joeman Thomas, the team held talks with Vietnamese government officials and BP on August 4 and 5.

Oil India accompanied OVL, represented by NK Bharali, its incoming director business development. “Vietnamese authorities were non-committal,” reports a source.

“OVL and Oil India will have to do a lot of work if they want to buy BP’s stake.” OVL’s visit comes days after a visit to Vietnam by oil minister Murli Deora for an energy summit on July 22.

Deora was quoted saying he had been promised support for BP’s stake by Vietnamese prime minster Nguyen Tan Dung. “OVL is following a government directive,” adds a source.

“They were expecting a positive response from Hanoi. But even BP was non-committal when they met in Hanoi.

” Vietnamese energy ministry officials apparently rebuffed the Indian delegation, saying they “would check with their seniors and get back”. No date has been fixed for the next meeting.

“I think the matter will have to be handled at the ministerial level,” we hear. A senior OVL source tells us this was a fact-finding tour only, to understand what is on offer.

“This is a lucrative project,” he said. Nam Con Son is an integrated gas project flowing across the energy chain, with gas production from the Lan Tay and Lan Do fields flowing through a 360-km pipeline to bring the gas onshore to a nearby power station.

In the last fiscal ending March 31, OVL’s share of oil production was 0.42m tonnes and 1.967bn cubic metres gas.

LNG Summit