India for trilateral partnership with Russia, Vietnam to expand footprint in hydrocarbon sector in SE nation, despite China's protest

Notwithstanding China's objection, India is set to expand its footprints in the oil and gas sector in Vietnam, possibly in partnership with Russia.

India is open to "trilateral partnership" in oil and gas sector with Vietnam and any other third country, New Delhi conveyed to Hanoi last week when Prime Minister of the South East Asian nation, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, was on a visit.

Beijing has been opposed to exploration by India's ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) in one of the blocks claimed and allotted to it by Vietnam in the disputed South China Sea.

New Delhi, however, is keen to tie up with Moscow, as it wants its companies to take up more blocks in Vietnam.

Phuc was on a visit to New Delhi to attend the Asean-India commemorative summit last week. He called on President Ram Nath Kovind and had a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the summit.

Sources told DH that both sides agreed to step up cooperation in hydrocarbon sector.

The OVL has a long-standing partnership with PetroVietnam for exploration of oil and gas in Vietnam. Beijing, in July last year, protested when PetroVietnam extended the OVL's lease in Block 128 in the South China Sea, which has been at the centre of an escalating conflict between China and many of its maritime neighbours - Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan.

China earlier protested Indian companies' role in exploration of hydrocarbon in the blocks in Vietnamese continental shelf too.

New Delhi apparently proposed trilateral partnership between Indian, Russian and Vietnamese companies in order to blunt protests from China.

Vietnam's PetroVietnam and Gazprom of Russia has been collaborating since long ago. Vietgazprom, a joint venture of Gazprom and PetroVietnam, is engaged in exploration in the continental shelf of Vietnam.

Gazprom International and PetroVietnam have also been engaged in commercial gas and condensate production from the Moc Tinh and Hai Thach offshore fields in Vietnam.

Phuc conveyed to Modi last week that his government would welcome India's oil and gas companies to avail themselves of opportunities in participating in mid-stream and down-stream sectors in Vietnam.

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