NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India has invited French oil major TotalEnergies to bid for oil exploration rights in the country, as the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer seeks to reduce its dependence on costly imports.
Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said he had met TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne in Abu Dhabi and invited him to bid for exploration rights to one million square kilometres of blocks across the country that have been opened up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
India buys more than 84% of the oil it needs from overseas and is seeking to quickly develop its hydrocarbon reserves to reduce import dependence.
Puri, who is in Abu Dhabi to attend an industry conference, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that he also discussed with Pouyanne ways to expedite the Mozambique liquefied natural gas (LNG) project which is India’s largest energy investment overseas.
TotalEnergies holds a leading 26.5% stake in the $20 billion project, which had to declare force majeure in 2021 due to regional unrest after an insurgent group linked to Islamic State attacked the northern town of Palma.
Mozambique LNG’s other shareholders are Mozambique’s ENH, Japan’s Mitsui & Co, Thailand’s PTTEP and Indian firms ONGC Videsh, Bharat Petroleum and Oil India Ltd.
(Reporting by Shivam Patel; Editing by Jan Harvey)