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India Plans to Bid for 8 Oil, Gas Blocks in Myanmar

NEW DELHI - Three state-run Indian companies – ONGC Videsh Ltd., Indian Oil Corp. and GAIL (India) Ltd. – will bid for eight oil and gas blocks in Myanmar, Oil Minister M. Veerappa Moily said. 

The move is part of India's plans to acquire oil and gas assets overseas to meet the energy-hungry nation's growing demand, the minister told reporters. The country meets about three-fourths of its energy requirements through imports and it wants to reduce its dependence on overseas suppliers to half in the next seven years. 

The three companies could bid jointly or separately, Mr. Moily said. They will be competing with Chinese and other overseas firms in Myanmar, he added. 

Other state-run energy companies are also exploring deals abroad, the minister said. 

ONGC Videsh is a fully owned unit of state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and it invests in oil and gas projects abroad. ONGC Videsh is looking to complete a deal it announced in November to buy a stake in a Kazakh oil and gas field from ConocoPhillips. 

The Indian government last month approved the deal, but it also requires the approval of the government in Kazakhstan. 

"The final decision by the Kazakhstan government is expected by July 2," the minister said.