India, Sudan ink deal on expanding energy ties


New Delhi: India and Sudan signed an agreement on expanding ties in the oil and gas sector on the last day of a two-day India-Africa Hydrocarbon conference Tuesday.

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The agreement was signed by Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Jitin Prasada and Sudan’s Energy and Mining minister Angelina Jany Teny during the valedictory session of the second India-Hydrocarbon conference.

This memorandum of understanding (MoU) provides a broad framework to take forward the existing cooperation between the two countries.

Prasada pointed out that ONGC Videsh Ltd has already made an investment of $2.5 billion in Sudan in oil producing and in exploration assets.

“The investment of our companies is expected to increase when some of the oil and gas assets in Africa are developed to produce oil and gas. Our focus has been to step up investments in the oil and gas sector of Africa for mutual benefit,” he said.

He articulated five areas for India’s participation in African oil and gas sector. These were to buy more crude, investment in upstream opportunities in Africa, as well as in third countries, explore scope to import more Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), make available Indian skills, talent and technology for cost-effective solutions and pursue community development projects.

Earlier, Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor urged African nations to partner with India.

“We offer ourselves as both a huge market for energy products as also an investment and technology partner in the oil and gas sector,” he said.

He pointed out that India is the fourth largest global consumer of crude oil, consuming over 2.8 million barrels per day. India imported crude worth $75 billion in 2008-09.

Tharoor noted that India would also like to see development of Africa’s own domestic market.

“But, constrained by the pace of its economic growth, Africa consumes only about 40 percent of the oil it produces. We will draw equal satisfaction when African oil fuels Africa’s own development and growth,” he said.