Rosneft plays a key role in energy dialogue with India

by IANS |

Moscow/New Delhi Dec 13 (IANS) Russian energy company Rosneft is playing a key role in the energy dialogue, actively developing with Indian partners an integrated format of cooperation along the entire technological chain, from production to refining and sales of petroleum products.

The development and expansion of the energy dialogue between Russia and India should be a priority task for both the political and business elites of the two countries. Russia is India's longstanding and time-tested partner. There is regular high-level interaction between the two countries - heads of the two countries hold annual meetings and there are other mechanisms of political interaction. Contacts have been established in the sphere of military and technical cooperation and the economy. In this situation, it is important to systematically develop cooperation in the energy sphere as well.

Among the joint assets in Russia are Vankorneft, Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha and Sakhalin-1. In India - Nayara Energy, which operates a high-tech refinery in the city of Vadinar and is one of the fastest-growing networks of filling stations in India. After Rosneft's acquisition of a part of Nayara Energy's equity, the Indian company launched an ambitious refinery development program. These assets, which are the company's most successful international projects, allowed Rosneft to become a leader in investment cooperation between the two countries.

To understand the scale, let me quote the following figure: the volume of mutual investments in the projects with the participation of Rosneft and Indian partners exceeded $17 billion. This is more than half of the total volume of accumulated Russian-Indian investments at the moment.

It is important to understand that this is far from the limit. So far Russia is not India's main partner in the energy sector, although we have all opportunities to do so, given the potential of the Northern Sea Route and similar positions with regard to the energy transition to a low-carbon economy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an advocate of a smooth, balanced move toward carbon-free energy.

India's fast-growing economy is demanding more and more energy resources, and the country's authorities show interest in Rosneft's unique low-carbon Vostok Oil project that produces low-sulphur oil. The Indian interest extends far beyond the usual pattern of partnership in the upstream asset. India is also assessing the possibility of participating in the construction of vessels for Vostok Oil at the Zvezda shipyard in the Far East.

We see that, in fact, there is a need for a new institutional platform for practical cooperation between Russia and India in the energy sector, where the parties can discuss and develop proposals for joint projects and increased investments in the sector.

India has been one of Rosneft's key strategic partners for many years. Projects with Indian partners are probably the most effective international projects for the Russian company. First is the Vankor project, which Rosneft has been implementing with a consortium of Indian investors since 2016. The Vankor field is the largest field discovered and commissioned in Russia in the last twenty five years. The project is paradigmatic, as it has become the basis for building an integral format of cooperation between Rosneft and Indian partners.

Another joint production project in Russia, Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha, is an example of a Eurasian hub, with representatives from India (a consortium of investors) and the UK (BP) involved in its development.

Finally, since 2001, India's ONGC, together with Rosneft, has been part of the Sakhalin-1 project.

All these examples are a perfect illustration of how successful the Russia-India energy dialogue can be.

Cooperation between Rosneft and India is based not only on the development of production projects in the oil and gas industry. I would like to remind you that, since 2017, Rosneft has been a co-owner of Nayara Energy, which owns Vadinar, one of the largest and most high-tech refineries in India. The purchase of this asset is still the largest foreign investment in the Indian economy. However, this investment is justified and strategically flawless: the investors were focused on the dynamically developing Indian domestic market with one of the world's highest growth rates.

Nayara Energy now also owns one of India's largest networks of gas stations, and during the time that Rosneft has been a shareholder of the company, the network has almost doubled in size. Today there are more than 6,200 filling stations there. It is also important that Rosneft and its partners are developing petrochemical production at the refinery: at the end of November, Nayara announced the laying of the foundation stone for a $750 million polypropylene plant. And this is just the beginning - at the next stage, the production capacity of the refinery may be doubled. All this will enable us to meet the growing demands of the Indian market.

Investment cooperation between Rosneft and Indian partners is very effective. It is evident by the example of many joint projects in Russia and India.

In this respect, it is not surprising that the Indians are one of the most probable investors in the Vostok Oil project in Taimyr. They are interested in the project, and high-ranking people from the Indian government have spoken about it publicly more than once. In fact, the Indians are already involved in this project because they are co-owners of the Vankor field development project, which is included in Vostok Oil.

In this context, Indian partners' interest in our shipbuilding is also not accidental. In September, Prime Minister Modi announced at the Eastern Economic Forum that one of India's largest shipyards had become a partner of the Zvezda shipbuilding complex in the Far East. This means that the partners are interested in creating value in all links of the production chain: exploration and production within the framework of the Vostok Oil project, building a fleet for the transportation of hydrocarbons, oil refining, and sales of oil products in the Indian domestic market and in the South Asian region.

Should Indian companies take part in Rosneft's two landmark projects - Vostok Oil and Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex - the technological chain will be finally formed. Then the energy dialogue could become no less important as a basis for bilateral cooperation than political and military-technical agreements.

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