India’s Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri met with TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne in Abu Dhabi and invited him to bid for exploration rights to one million square kilometers of blocks across the country that have been opened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer, currently imports more than 84% of its needs of oil. By opening exploration blocks for bidding, India aims to tap into its own hydrocarbon reserves and reduce its import dependence.
During the meeting in Abu Dhabi, Puri and Pouyanne also discussed 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.
Apart from TotalEnergies, the Mozambique LNG project has other shareholders, including Mozambique’s ENH, Japan’s Mitsui & Co, Thailand’s PTTEP, and Indian firms ONGC Videsh, Bharat Petroleum, and Oil India Ltd.