OVL looks at Chad

Vol 15, PW 1 (14 Jul 11) News in Brief

Land-locked Chad in Africa could soon join the growing list of countries where ONGC’s overseas exploration arm ONGC Videsh (OVL) has interests.

PETROWATCH learns an OVL team visited Chad in the last week of June on the invitation of the country’s oil minister Mahamat Hassan Nasser. This followed a letter sent by Nasser to India’s oil minister Jaipal Reddy in early June, asking for Indian investments in Chad’s E&P sector.

Interestingly, Nasser is believed to have assured India that it can get blocks in Chad on a ‘nomination basis’, without the trouble of bidding through an open tender. Chad has also given OVL’s visiting team data for eight onland exploration blocks in the country at no cost.

OVL is studying this data and is expected to decide in a month or so if any of the blocks are ‘prospective.’ OVL’s interest in Chad is in line with India’s ongoing drive to gain a strategic foothold in African countries traditionally shunned by western oil companies, in competition with China.