In a boost for India’s energy diplomacy in the resource-rich Central Asia, Kazakhstan has offered ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of the country’s oil major ONGC, a stake in a medium-sized Abai oil block in the Caspian Sea.
The offer was made at a meeting of the Joint Working Group in Kazakh capital Astana towards the end of April.
India is understood to be perusing the Kazakh government’s offer of 25 per cent stake in the Abai block, which, going by the estimate of Astana, has 2.8 billion barrels of oil reserves.
The Kazakh offer is good news for India’s energy diplomacy in the region as only a year ago, Astana has blocked India’s $5 billion offer for a stake in Kashagan oilfield. The OVL already has 25 per cent participating interest in Satpayev exploration block in Kazakhstan and has invested around $113.93 million in exploration-related activities.
India is poised to expand its economic and energy interests in Central Asia, the energy-rich region where the country enjoys enormous goodwill. Two years ago, New Delhi launched Connect Central Asia policy, a multi-pronged diplomatic initiative that envisages India playing a more proactive role to spur the development of the region.
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