India, Vietnam to jointly pitch for BP assets: report

22nd July 2010, Comments 0 comments

India and Vietnam will jointly pitch for taking over the energy assets of British energy giant BP in the Southeast Asian country, the Press Trust of India reported Thursday.

India's flagship explorer ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), backed by public sector company Oil India Ltd and Vietnam's national oil firm PetroVietnam, will make a joint bid for BP's 35 percent stake in a Vietnamese offshore gas block, the news agency said, quoting Indian Oil Minister Murli Deora.

Under its contract with Vietnam, BP has to give first preference to existing partners in the block, the agency said. OVL has a 45 percent stake in the gas block, while PetroVietnam holds the remaining 20 percent.

BP's asset sale -- to help pay for damages stemming from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster -- presents an investment opportunity for energy-hungry India as the country looks to obtain more fuel supplies for its fast-growing economy.

Hanoi is stressing that the British firm must give its partners priority in the stake sale, the Indian news agency said.

India is also keen on getting a slice of BP's stake in a pipeline that transports gas from the fields and a power plant which uses it to produce electricity. India currently has no stake in the pipeline or the power plant.

"The Vietnamese Prime Minister agreed with our proposal to takeover BP's interest (in an offshore gas field, a pipeline and a power plant -- together known as the Nam Con Son project)," Deora said during a visit to Vietnam.

"He was supportive and asked us to work out details (of the bid)," he added, without further elaboration.

Both OVL and PetroVietnam are keen to acquire BP's stake in the fields that currently produce about 14 million standard cubic metres of gas per day.

© 2010 AFP

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