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India could become first non‑Arctic state to develop Russia's Arctic resources

India could become first non‑Arctic state to develop Russia's Arctic resources
New Delhi is considering participating in Russian oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in the Arctic as cooperation with Moscow could open vast opportunities for India in the resource-rich region.

“We are establishing cooperation in geological exploration, joint development of oil and gas fields on the territories of the two countries, including offshore projects, which will eventually allow India to become the first non‑Arctic state to extract resources in the Arctic,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Times of India.

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India, one of the largest and fastest growing LNG markets, wants to get Russian LNG from the Arctic to satisfy its growing energy demand. It could join the Arctic LNG project led by Russian energy giant Novatek, according to India's Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan.

“We are also studying the opportunities to participate in the future Novatek project in the Arctic. We are looking into all the opportunities to get LNG from this region,” the minister told reporters on Wednesday.The interest in Russian gas supplies comes as India turns away from joint projects with neighboring Pakistan. New Delhi has refused to sign a memorandum of understanding on the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline construction amid escalating tensions with Islamabad.

“We don't want to deal with Pakistan. We are more interested in Russian LNG,” Pradhan said.

In September, Russia’s Novatek and India’s H-Energy Global signed an agreement on LNG supplies to India on a long-term basis. The memorandum of understanding envisages joint investment in future LNG terminals of the two companies, as well as establishing a joint venture to sell LNG and natural gas to customers in India, Bangladesh and other countries.

Crude reserves in Russia's Arctic are also attracting Indian companies willing to invest into the massive Vostok oil project. According to Pradhan, the project is “very interesting” for the country, but he did not elaborate on how much it is going to invest. Vostok Oil is a joint venture between state-owned oil major Rosneft and private oil producer Neftegazholding (NGH) with the projected production of up to 100 million tons.

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