ONGC Videsh plans to double investment

ONGC Videsh plans to double investment

With the government pushing India Inc to invest more in Africa, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) said it has planned to double investment in Africa if nations offer partnership and assure a safe work environment.

“Currently our investment in Africa is around $8 billion, which we hope to double in the next 3-4 years. We are looking at opportunities in Angola, Algeria, Gabon and Guinea. African nations can provide resources and partnership,” N K Verma, Managing Director OVL said here at the India-Africa Business Forum on Wednesday.

“But we need adequate compensation from host nations for investing in risky and tougher projects,” he said. Verma’s remarks followed a bilateral discussion between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her South Sudanese counterpart Barnaba Marial Benjamin on the sidelines of the ongoing India-Africa Forum Summit in which Swaraj raised the security issue.

Swaraj said because of the security situation in South Sudan where OVL has its operations at Thar Jath, the work has stopped.

“She requested if work can resume at an early date because ONGC Videsh is very keen that its workers go back and oil production starts from there,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson at the Ministry of External Affairs.

Benjamin informed Swaraj that his country’s petroleum minister was in New Delhi and held talks with officials in India's petroleum ministry and with OVL to resolve the pending issues. The two ministers also discussed the political situation and the peace agreement.

India currently imports 75 per cent of its crude and gas, out of which almost one-fourth comes from the African continent. Since energy import would continue to be more than 50 per cent by 2030, the government introduced new policies to facilitate exploration. Inaugurating the business forum, Swaraj asked the Indian companies to invest more in the African continent, which offers a huge market for Indian goods and services.

The bilateral trade between India and Africa multiplied 20 times in the last 15 years and doubled in the last five years to reach nearly $72 billion in 2014-15. “It’s still way below its potential, considering the size of India and Africa,” she said.

Indian companies have invested about $32.35 billion in Africa but the scope is much more because of the continent’s rich natural resources and demand.

“We hope African countries will take steps to attract such investments from India, particularly from manufacturing and processing activities,” Swaraj said.

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