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ONGC Videsh expresses interest to bid for Tanzania blocks

NEW DELHI: ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp, has expressed interest in bidding in the next round of licensing for offshore and onshore oil/gas blocks in Tanzania. 

The matter came up for discussions between Minister of State for Commerce and Industry D Purandeswari and Tanzanian Industry and Trade Minister Abdallah O Kigoda at Dar-es-Salaam. 

Purandeswari is in the East African nation for the 3rd meeting of the Tanzania-India Joint Trade Committee (JTC). 

"ONGC Videsh Ltd has expressed interest for bidding in the 4th Licensing round for seven offshore and one onshore oil/gas blocks in Tanzania," a Commerce Ministry statement said. 

The move would help in strengthening cooperation between the countries in the field of oil and gas. 

It also said that both the ministers agreed to double the volume of bilateral trade in the next two years and to reduce the trade imbalance, which is currently in favour of India. 

The bilateral trade between the countries stood at $2.12 billion in 2012. 

Further, the Indian side has raised the issue of the ban on export of rough Tanzanite (a kind of stones) imposed by Tanzania. 

"In response to the Indian request for revoking the ban, the Tanzanian side assured that the matter will be considered," it said. 

It said that India has agreed to consider the Tanzanian request to establish a Gemology Institute there and offered help in capacity building by training master craftsmen. 

Both the ministers felt that there is a huge untapped potential for increasing Indian investment in Tanzania. 

"The Indian Minister raised the issue regarding high cost of resident/work permit by Tanzanian authorities," it said. 

Indian companies are investing in 
Tanzania in various sectors including agriculture, construction, financial services, manufacturing, mining, tourism, telecommunications and transport. 

From 1990 to June, 2013, investment by Indian companies in Tanzania is estimated to be $1.91 billion. 

India has also agreed to cooperate with Tanzania for rehabilitation and modernisation of the Tanzania Railway system, it added.