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Last Updated: Friday, 16 December 2005, 10:38 GMT
India blocks West Africa oil deal
Oil barrels
ONGC says the government's decision is embarrassing
A plan by India's state-run oil company ONGC to acquire a stake in a Nigerian oil field has been blocked by cabinet.

The decision comes after ONGC had won an auction for Akpo, a planned oil and gas field outside Nigeria.

An offer of between $1bn (565m) and $2bn won the auction for ONGC, a source told Reuters.

"We had consulted the government at every stage. We were expecting an approval," an ONGC official told Reuters. "It is a huge embarrassment."

India is currently reviewing its strategy for acquisitions of energy assets abroad, and as part of the process the Nigeria investment was deemed too risky, officials told Reuters.

"It has not been approved," said finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram.

"Nigeria is a very risky country to invest in, especially for state-owned companies like ONGC," said Jaspreet Singh, a senior analyst with Prabhudas Lilladher.


SEE ALSO:
Concerns over Indian oil output
28 Nov 05 |  Business
Indian cash eyes West Africa oil
24 Nov 05 |  Business
Gas giants fight for India field
17 Oct 05 |  Business
Indian ambitions in the pipeline
05 Feb 05 |  South Asia


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