UPDATE 1-India's Petronet LNG aims to partner with ONGC Videsh in Qatar project

(Adds comment, industry context)

NEW DELHI, April 11 (Reuters) - India’s Petronet LNG Ltd wants to partner with ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of India’s biggest explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd, to pick up a stake in an upcoming exploration and liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Qatar, a company official said.

The project would be Petronet’s maiden venture into the natural gas exploration and production business and overseas LNG terminals.

“We will be signing a non-confidentiality agreement with QatarGas in the next one week or so, and then evaluate the project,” Prabhat Singh, managing director and chief executive officer of Petronet told Reuters at the International Energy Forum on Wednesday.

A non-confidentiality agreement would allow QatarGas to speak with other interested parties about the project in addition to Petronet.

Singh said Qatar Gas would give Petronet LNG access to its data rooms for evaluation of the project within a month’s time.

The upstream project will feed into a 23 million tonnes per annum LNG terminal, Singh said.

Singh did not say how large of a stake Petronet and OVL would jointly pick up and when the deal would be signed.

Petronet currently runs a 15 million tonne per annum LNG regasification site at Dahej in the western state of Gujarat and a 5 million tonne refinery at Kochi in southern India.

It is India’s biggest importer and supplier of LNG. (Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)