India will consider the ownership revamp announced by Moscow of the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project, Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said.
Russia issued a decree last week allowing it to seize Exxon Mobil’s 30% stake and gave a Russian state-run company the authority to decide whether foreign shareholders, such as India’s ONGC Videsh, can still participate in the project.
“We’ll look at what is the state of play and what’s on offer,” Puri said, adding that the two countries had a “healthy dialogue”.
He spoke on Monday following meetings with United States oil executives in Houston, Texas.
India, meanwhile, is “actively monitoring” Saudi Arabia’s Asia premium over oil prices after OPEC+ last week agreed to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day beginning next month, Puri said.
“At the end of the day, consumers start playing a role when situations like this evolve,” he said referring to the global energy balance and the “unintended consequences” of the OPEC+ decision.
Too-high oil prices could exacerbate inflation and tip the global economy into recession, reducing oil demand, he added.
Price Cap on Russian Oil Not Set
On the proposed European Union price cap on Russian oil purchases, Puri suggested it is not yet firm. “If the Europeans come with a plan, let’s see how it evolves,” he said.
Puri this week met US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Energy Security Adviser Amos Hochstein in Washington, DC, where they discussed collaborations on biofuels and clean energy in addition to energy security.
“At no stage have we ever been told not to buy Russian oil,” Puri said, referring to talks with officials on global energy supplies.
In Houston, he met executives from Exxon Mobil, oilfield service provider Baker Hughes and liquefied natural gas producers after launching a bidding round for offshore oil and gas exploration areas.
India is interested in the US companies’ technical expertise in offshore production, ethanol and sulfur recovery in oil refineries, Puri added.
There are also discussions under way with Guyana, Brazil and Colombia for joint investment and extra supplies of crude for Indian refiners, he said.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard