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Indian oil group mulls Angolan acquisition

NEW DELHI, Nov 2 – India\’s biggest oil group is looking at buying the Angolan assets of US giant ExxonMobil and Total of France as it seeks foreign resources to fuel the nation\’s economy, a report said Tuesday.

R.S. Sharma, chairman of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), told the Financial Times he had met members of the Angolan government in New Delhi to discuss opportunities, including buying ExxonMobil\’s and Total\’s assets.

The Indian executive stressed that talks were at an early stage and he did not specify how much ONGC may invest, the newspaper said.

Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos, Angola\’s oil minister, has said Exxon and Total want to exit the country\’s Block 31 oilfield and that the Angolan state-run Sonangol oil group is looking for new partners.

India\’s growing dependence on energy imports has led the government to urge state-run groups to make at least one overseas acquisition this year.

However, none of the big Indian state-run groups has been able to seal a deal in the past 18 months as they suffer competition from their financially stronger Chinese rivals.

The last big deal made by a state-run group was ONGC\’s acquisition of Imperial Energy, a London-listed company with most of its assets in Russia, for 2.1 billion dollars nearly two years ago.

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