Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) has joined the Indian consortium negotiating buying a 49 per cent stake in Russia’s Vankor Cluster oil fields in the Arctic region. Originally, ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), signed an MoU to explore buying a stake in Suzunskoye, Tagulskoye and Lodochnoye fields — collectively known as Vankor Cluster.
Later, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Oil India (OIL) and Bharat PetroResources (BPRL), a unit of Bharat Petroleum Corporation, came in using the influence of the oil ministry. Now, HPCL has shown interest and has joined the talks, sources privy to the development said. Rosneft, Russia’s national oil company that owns the fields, wants to retain a majority stake and is keen to sell only up to 49 per cent stake. Sources said OVL is keen to take the largest share of 20 -26 per cent as the project had originally come to it and others joined in later.
If OVL takes 26 per cent stake, OIL-IOC-BPRL-HPCL may have 23.9 per cent, they said. Vankorneft, a subsidiary of Rosneft, is developing the Vankor oil and gas condensate field, situated in the northern part of eastern Siberia. In 2013, Vankorneft was chosen as an operator on development of new fields of Vankor Cluster located close to the Vankor field. The reserves of Suzunskoye field exceed 56 million tonnes of oil and condensate and 35 billion cubic metres of gas. Last year, OVL first acquired 15 per cent in Russia’s second-biggest oil field of Vankor for USD 1.27 billion and then bought another 11 per cent for USD 930 million. The 26 per cent stake would give OVL 7.31 million tonnes of oil.
The consortium of OIL-IOC-BPRL acquired 23.9 per cent stake in the field at a cost of USD 2.02 billion, giving them 6.56 million tonnes of oil. Rosneft continues to hold the remaining 50.1 per cent shares of JSC Vankorneft. The field has recoverable reserves of 2.5 billion barrels. Besides, the OIL-IOC-BPRL consortium has taken another 29.9 per cent stake in a separate Taas-Yuryakh oil field in East Siberia for USD 1.12 billion. The investments have taken the total outlay in Russia this year to USD 5.46 billion.
These investments will give India 15.18 mt of oil equivalent. These compare to USD 28.48 billion investment by Indian companies overseas in the past 50 years, leading to about 10 million tonnes of oil equivalent. While Vankor produces about 4,42,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) – that is, 4 per cent of Russian crude oil production – Taas produces about 21,000 barrels per day of oil, and a peak of 1,00,000 bpd is expected by 2021.