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India studying Kazakh offer to develop Caspian Sea oil block
Thursday May 1, 2014 7:39 PM, IANS

India is studying the possibility of developing Kazakhstan's Abai oil block in the Caspian Sea that is estimated to hold reserves of 2.8 billion barrels of oil, an official said.

The offer was made during the 11th India-Kazakhstan Intergovernmental Commission meeting held April 25 in Astana.

Kazakh Vice Minister of Oil and Gas Magzum Mirzagaliev held a meeting with Saurabh Chandra, secretary in India's ministry of petroleum and natural gas, according to Kazakh English daily Tengrinews.

The Abai oil block is located in the northern part of the Caspian Sea, 65 km from the shore at a depth of 8-10 metres.

The Abai block was initially being developed by Norwegian Statoil together with Kazakhstan's KazMunaiGas, but Statoil left the project in early 2013.

"Hydrocarbons is one of the key areas of our cooperation. Kazakhstan has oil and gas, while India has the market. Our companies have ample experience in production and exploration in this sector. ONGC Videsh company owns 25 percent share in Satpayev oil block. Exploration of the block will be made. We plan to finish it by March of 2015," Saurabh Chandra was quoted as saying.

"Kazakhstan has offered us Abai oil block and our company will study all the available information concerning the block and notify the government of Kazakhstan of its decision," Chandra added, according to Tengrinews.

Satpayev oil block is an offshore field in the Northern Caspian Sea. Its potential reserves are estimated at 1.8 billion barrels. The first oil from the field is expected in 2020.

"ONGC Videsh and KazMunaiGas are jointly working on the Satpayev project. The first well will be drilled in 2015 at this block," Mirzagaliev said.

Both officials agreed to consider broadening cooperation in production and development of oil and gas fields in Kazakhstan. India expressed readiness to participate in the projects both as a sole developer and as a consortium partner.

According to Magzum Mirzagaliev, goods turnover between Kazakhstan and India amounts to $670 million, and both countries were interested in increasing it further.

ONGC Videsh is India's largest oil production company. In 2013, ONGC Videsh became India's second largest publicly traded company.

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