India says it has not pulled out of oil project in East Sea

TN News

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India's state-run ONGC Videsh Limited has not withdrawn from oil and gas exploration in a block belonging to Vietnam in the East Sea over which China claimed territorial rights last year.

US newspaper New York Daily News quoted Indian Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas R.P.N. Singh as telling parliament that the state-run ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) is engaged in the exploration of block 128.

Last year OVL halted its activities in the block after China issued a demarche stating that its permission must be sought for exploration in blocks 127 and 128, the report said. "The company was planning to quit the project. However, Vietnam later extended its exploration contract with OVL."

News website Vietnamnet Monday said a couple of months ago the Indian company announced its intention to stop its activities in block 128, which it was exploring together with the Vietnam National Group of Oil and Gas (PetroVietnam), due to commercial and technical reasons.

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But last month Vietnam proposed that OVL should maintain its activities along with an offer of additional data that could help make future exploration economically feasible, AFP quoted Dow Jones Newswire as saying then.

Block 128 is located within Vietnam's 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone granted under the UN's Law of the Sea.

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