July 2, 2008

Indian Minister Urges OPEC Chief to Hike Oil Output

Text of report by Sujay Mehdudia headlined "Deora urges OPEC chief to hike oil output" published by Indian newspaper The Hindu website on 2 July

New Delhi: Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Murli Deora on Tuesday [1 July] met the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries [OPEC] president and Algerian Energy and Mines Minister, Chakib Khali and urged him to increase crude oil production to cool down the sharp rise in its prices in the international markets.

Mr Deora also had bilateral meetings with the Iranian Petroleum Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari and Columbian Energy Minister Hernan Martinez Torres and discussed issues such as the Iran-Pakistan- India [IPI] gas pipeline and the proposal to jointly develop an LNG [Liquefied Natural Gas] complex in India with the participation of Iranian companies.

Mr Deora met Mr Khali on the sidelines of the 19th World Petroleum Council meet in Madrid, Spain. He urged the OPEC chief to use his influence to curb speculation in oil trading that had sharply increased the price of crude oil in the international markets and threatened to derail global economic growth.

Later, Mr Deora and Mr Nozari discussed the modalities to work out the IPI gas pipeline deal. Iran conveyed its optimism on implementation of the project, citing the positive progress made by India and Pakistan in settling outstanding bilateral issues. Mr Nozari said Iran was open to New Delhi's proposal to change the point of gas delivery from the Iran-Pakistan border to the Pakistan- India border.

Mr Deora reiterated India's commitment to speedy implementation of the IPI pipeline project and said the delivery point issue would be soon discussed with Iran. Expressing satisfaction on the progress made in resolving outstanding issues, Mr Deora said most of the issues had been settled and some remaining would be discussed in the forthcoming trilateral meeting.

Mr Nozari said Iran was open to the proposal by ONGC to jointly develop the LNG project in Iran. With regard to the development plan for Farsi block with ONGC Videsh Ltd. as operator and Indian Oil Corporation and Oil India Limited as partners, the Iranian Minister said the commerciality of the project was under consideration and a decision would be taken soon.

In another meeting with Mr Torres, Mr Deora proposed ONGCs [Oil & Natural Gas Corporation's] participation in improving oil recovery from the existing fields in Colombia. Mr. Torres conveyed Colombia's keen interest in utilizing the expertise of ONGC in implementing Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and Improved Oil Recovery (IOR) projects.

Originally published by The Hindu website, Chennai, in English 02 Jul 08.

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