India, Kazakhstan to sign contract for Satpayev oil block
NEW DELHI. March 16. KAZINFORM India and Kazakhstan will sign an exploration and production agreement for the the Satpayev oil block on the Caspian Sea before the new domestic Kazakh law on reviewing contracts of foreign companies comes into force, it was announced here on Friday. This was decided at the seventh meeting of the two-day India-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on trade, economic, scientific, technological, industrial and cultural cooperation that ended in Astana Friday, a government release said. The Indian side was led by Petroleum Minister Murli Deora and the Kazakh delegation was led by Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources Sauat Mynbayev. Kazakhstan has offered ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd, a joint venture between ONGC Videsh and the Mittal group, 25 percent stake in the Satypayev offshore oil block. It was decided that the combined exploration and production contract will be signed at an "early date before the new subsoil use law is adopted in Kazakhstan", the release said. The subsoil use law 2007 will enable the government to revise contracts to further ensure the economic interests of Kazakhstan. Both sides also held talks on setting up a petrochemical complex and thermal power projects in the Central Asian country. It also encompassed India's interest to intensify cooperation on the civilian nuclear energy sector, with Kazakhstan being one of the world's largest sources of uranium. "Both sides also agreed to sign the inter-governmental agreement on civil nuclear cooperation shortly," said the statement. They further decided to set up two joint working groups in trade and economic cooperation and one in pharmaceutical sector. The countries have also decided to expedite the conclusion of agreements in education, agriculture, science and technology, and mutual legal assistance treaty in civil and commercial matters, the release said, Kazinform refers to the Hindu.