India's state-owned ONGC considers $5 billion oil sands investment

ConocoPhillips, the Houston-based oil company, is looking to sell assets in countries around the world as part of its global restructuring plans.

As the largest state-owned energy explorer in India, sources told Reuters that ONGC’s interested in a $5 billion bid for the properties, stating: “It’s in the process.  It is seriously looking at it.”

With initial bidding to start soon there is likely to be competition from other global parties including another Indian state company Oil India.

Of the six assets offered in Alberta only the Surmount location, which is run in tandem with Total SA, is currently producing oil.

With foreign investors pouring money into the Alberta oil sands ownership of the industry has become a contentious issue in Canada.

In a recent interview with Today, Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May explained her worries.  “It’s naive to think there’s no difference between Sinopec or PetroChina and Imperial Oil or Exxon,” said May.

In contrast Michel Kelly-Gagnon, president of the Montreal Economic Institute, is quick to point out in his column that without foreign investors the “industry would be smaller and less competitive, generating fewer jobs and salaries, and less revenue from taxes and royalties.”

To date Chinese owned companies have invested over $15 billion in Albertan oil sands developments and roughly 70% of all oil sands production is owned by out of Canada shareholders.

On Monday MINING.com reported a $40 discount to the global oil price, competition from Bakken shale oil, rising labour costs, pipeline problems and overproduction put in jeopardy billions of dollars of oil sands projects. Read more >>.