The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mega deal bubbles with energy
- ONGC, Mittal join hands

New Delhi, July 23: The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and the Mittal group are planning to pick up stakes in oil and gas fields in Central Asia and Africa through ONGC-Mittal Energy, their joint venture firm.

Energy-rich Kazhakstan and Angola feature at the top of their interest list.

ONGC today signed MoUs to form two joint venture companies with the Mittal group.

“We already have some projects on the table,” said Mittal group chief Lakshmi Mittal. “The governments of some of the countries where Mittal Steel has operations had invited us to participate in the oil business as well,” Mittal said.

The other countries where the joint venture would be eyeing acquisition of hydrocarbon assets are Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, Trinidad and Tobago and Indonesia.

Mittal said he was now in a position to examine these offers as he had joined hands with ONGC, which has both experience and expertise in the oil sector. “I am very excited... this is just the beginning of the journey,” he said.

ONGC will hold a 49.98 per cent stake in both the joint venture companies, while Mittal will own 48.02 per cent. The remaining 2 per cent will go to ICICI.

ONGC-Mittal Energy, a joint venture between ONGC Videsh and Mittal Investments Sarl, will focus on acquisition of oil and gas firms and exploration business.

ONGC Mittal Energy Services will look at related businesses like refining, petrochemicals, pipelines, LNG, shipping and energy trading.

Petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said the chairmen of both the joint ventures would be from ONGC.

With the financial backing of the $22-billion Mittal group, the joint venture could now acquire bigger oil fields like the Chinese companies are doing, said OVL managing director R.S. Butola. Till now OVL has been picking up small stakes in big fields or buying smaller oil fields. ONGC chairman Subir Raha said agreements with other companies such as Rosneft and Gazprom would continue.

Similarly, certain government-to-government deals being made in the oil and gas sector would also be carried out independent of the joint venture.

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