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India and Vietnam partner to explore South China Sea

25th April 2012

New parternship brings forward an agreement inked in October 2011 between India and Vietnam to expand and promote oil exploration in South China Sea

The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, located east of Vietnam

Indian oil giant ONGC has teamed up with a Vietnamese company to launch joint exploration for oil in the South China Sea despite objections from China, a top company official said on Tuesday.

"There is nothing wrong in it. ONGC-Videsh has got this assignment through an international bid and we will go ahead with our exploration work with a Vietnamese oil company," ONGC chairman and managing director Sudhir Vasudeva told the Indian Express.

ONGC-Videsh is an arm of the oil PSU to prospect for oil and gas acreages abroad.

"If there is any territorial dispute between China and Vietnam they are supposed to sort out their problem. It is purely a commercial activity for us,” said Vasudeva. 

"The Government of India is the appropriate authority to take steps in this regard and clear everything for us," he said. China has been objecting to any activity in the South China Sea region including Indian oil exploration as it has territorial disputes with ASEAN countries like Vietnam and the Philippines. India in October last year had inked an agreement with Vietnam to expand and promote oil exploration in South China Sea.

The ONGC chairman, who reviewed the work progress of the 724 MW gas-based thermal project at Palatana in South Tripura district said that the first unit would start generation by June which would cater to the power needs of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.

Vasudeva said, ONGC would set up a Rs 500 crore gas based fertilizer unit at Khobal in North Tripura district for which six investors have expressed interest.

"This fertiliser plant will cater to the needs of the north eastern states and Bangladesh," he added.

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