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India's ONGC to sign gas exploration pact with ConocoPhillips
MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC.NS) and U.S. oil company ConocoPhillips (COP.N) will sign a pact on Friday to explore and develop shale gas and look for opportunities in deepwater exploration, the Indian state-run explorer said in a statement.
Details about the partnership, aimed at increasing oil and gas exploration opportunities between the two companies, will be announced at a news conference later on Friday.
Global energy majors have been pushing to grab a slice of India's oil and gas reserves and gain exposure to surging demand in Asia's third-largest economy.
BP (BP.L) paid $7.2 billion last year to acquire 30 percent stake in 23 oil and gas blocks owned by India's Reliance Industries (RELI.NS).
UK-listed miner Vedanta Resources (VED.L) has also bought controlling stake in explorer Cairn India (CAIL.NS) in a deal valued around $6 billion.
India, the world's fourth-largest oil importer, meets about 80 percent of its crude needs through overseas purchases.
It is scouting for oil and gas assets abroad to meet demand in a fast-growing economy, and to feed its expanding refining capacity.
ONGC, which has been investing heavily to maintain output from its old fields, has said it aims to raise its crude oil production by 15 percent to 28 million tones, or 560,000 barrels per day (bpd), by March 2014.
(Reporting by Aditi Shah; editing by Malini Menon)
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