A conference on hydrocarbons due next week will cement traditional ties between India and Africa, with oil and gas accounting for half of their $75 billion trade.
The fourth edition of the conference, which was conceptualised in 2007 to foster bilateral trade relations in the hydrocarbons sector, understand policy and regulatory frameworks and offer opportunities for strategic partnerships in upstream and downstream sectors of the two regions, will be held in the Indian capital New Delhi on January 21-22.
The India-Africa Hydrocarbons Conference website said the meeting would seek to set up complementarities and partnerships across streams of oil and gas with special focus on capabilities of India and Africa in the hydrocarbons sector, opportunities to boost India-Africa trade in oil and gas; prospects of Indian investment in Africa’s upstream and downstream sectors, policy and regulatory frameworks of Africa and India, and co-operation in capacity building in Africa through human resource development, transfer of technology, and research and development.
India’s reliance on oil and gas from Africa has increased exponentially over the years, the website said. Nigeria overtook Saudi Arabia as India’s number one source for crude imports in 2015 and India’s oil imports from Africa rose from 15.5 percent tits total imports to 26 percent in May 2015. The sitaution might change in the short term, however, with sanctions being lifted on Iran – a closer source for India’s oil needs.
Indian companies have been seeking opportunities to collaborate in gas exploration on the eastern coast of Africa. In Mozambique, Indian companies have a significant presence, in South Sudan, Indian companies own 25 percent in four key blocks. They also hold interest in several oil and gas assets in Gabon and Libya. Likewise in Egypt, Indian players hold operator interests in multiple key assets in the Gulf of Suez.
They are also working in Algeria, Libya, Sudan and Ghana and recently an Indian engineering company won the largest consultancy contract for an oil refinery in Nigeria. Another Indian company is building gas compression stations for Algerian NOC, Sonatrach for their pipelines.