In what could be a first major official energy deal between the two countries, India’s state-owed ONGC plans to bid for exploration rights of oil and gas blocks offshore Israel, Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told Reuters on Monday.
“We will definitely bid for Israel’s oil-and-gas blocks,” Pradhan told Reuters, after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel in July, which laid the foundations for wider industry cooperation between the two countries, including in the energy sector.
In August, a senior-level Indian government delegation and managers of four Indian energy companies visited Israel to discuss the firms’ potential interest in the 1st Israeli offshore bidding round for oil and gas exploration. The managers of the Indian companies and senior government officials were briefed by Israel on the status of development of oil and gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, the potential for oil and gas offshore development, the Israeli fiscal regime, and the terms of the bidding round, Israel’s Ministry of Energy said.
During Modi’s visit to Israel in July, India and Israel agreed to set up a joint task force to boost their energy cooperation, among others.
The follow-up visit by Indian energy companies included representatives of India’s oil ministry and managers at IOCL, OVL, BPCL, and Hindustan Petroleum, Israel’s Ministry of Energy noted.
In June this year, Israel extended the deadline for the first offshore bid round until November 15, 2017, from the previous deadline of July 10, in order to give more time to international oil and gas companies to bid on exploration rights in Israeli waters. The Israeli energy ministry is trying to encourage more companies to participate in the bidding round by explaining the regulatory process and answering the firms’ apprehension about investing and promoting investments in Israel, due to the sensitive geopolitical situation.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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