India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp.'s plans to develop a gas field in Iran are in the balance as the company's exposure to the sanctions-hit OPEC member may hit aspirations for U.S. energy assets, Chairman Sudhir Vasudeva said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
"We are present in Iran and Sudan. Because of this there are restrictions. We are trying to find ways to circumvent that. For any opportunity in the USA, we will have to address the law of the land," Vasudeva told reporters at an industry event.
Western sanctions against Iran's disputed nuclear programme are aimed at stemming revenues of the OPEC member through sales of crude and bar institutions dealing with Iran's central bank from the U.S. financial system.
Many foreign companies have been forced to pull out of the Islamic state's energy sector due to the fear of sanctions.
Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, a subsidiary of ONGC, the country's biggest oil and gas producer, is one of the key Indian oil clients of Iran.
ONGC is in talks with the Iranian government to develop the Farzad B gas field in the Farsi block. It also has a 25 percent stake in the Greater Nile project in Sudan.
Indian companies including Oil India Ltd and ONGC plan to buy a part of ConcoPhillips' Canadian oil sands assets worth around $5 billion.
Houston-based ConocoPhillips is seeking a buyer for 50 percent of a large portion of its Canadian oil sands holding, assets that could eventually produce more than half a million barrels a day.
The Indian government has charged ONGC with securing energy supplies overseas to fuel the country's fast-growing economy. ONGC invests in foreign assets through is unit ONGC Videsh Ltd.
A year ago ONGC Videsh announced a shift in its policy when its then managing director, Jomen Thomas, said his firm sought to buy assets in politically less risky countries like North America to cut its risk and boost output.
"We have the Farzad B discovery which requires millions of dollars so we have to weigh the pros and cons of that. We are in the process of doing that," Vasudeva said.
India, the world's fourth-biggest oil importer, buys in nearly 80 percent of its oil needs as expanding refining capacity has outpaced growth in local oil output. ONGC's local oil output has been almost stagnant for years.
ONGC last month announced the discovery of more oil reserves in its D1 field off India's western coast.
Vasudeva said oil production from the new find may start in a year's time and has the potential to raise output of the field from the current 35,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 60,000 bpd.
Edited by: S. Isayev