While the ONGC and HPCL merger is reaching its stage of fruition, expected to materialise in the current fiscal itself, HPCL’s plans to buy stakes in Russian upstream fields seems to be put on hold. The state-owned oil and gas major HPCL had been keen on buying stakes in the Russian oilfields along with ONGC, Oil India, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petro Resources in tranches, beginning from the year 2015.
The latter four companies hold 49.9 per cent stakes of Vankorneft, a subsidiary company of Russia’s state owned oil major Rosneft. Rosneft owns and regulates the operations of the Vankor cluster comprising three small fields including Suzunskoye, Tagulskoye and Lodochnoye in Vankor, Siberia, making Rosneft’s second largest field on the basis of production. The Vankor cluster contributes to around four per cent of Russia’s total oil production in a year, producing 421,000 barrels crude per day.
HPCL officials had earlier disclosed that the company was evaluating opportunities to buy stakes in satellite fields in the region. However, post the advancements in the merger deal between the two state owned oil majors, the company’s plans seems to be cancelled out. Recently, the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle approval for the government's 51.11 per cent sale of stakes in HPCL to another ONGC.