OVL gets two-year extension to explore a Vietnamese oil block

ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), the overseas arm of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), has got a two-year extension to explore a Vietnamese oil block in the contested waters of the South China Sea. This is the fifth extension for OVL to explore Block 128, the licence for which is now valid till June 15, 2019. While India wants to maintain its strategic interest in the South China Sea, Vietnam wants an Indian firm to counter China’s interventions in the contested waters. OVL had signed a production sharing contract (PSC) for the 7,058 square km block in the offshore PhuKhanh basin on May 24, 2006. Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment issued an investment licence for the block on June 16, 2006, the effective date of the PSC. The company has not found any hydrocarbon in the block but is continuing to stay invested to maintain India’s strategic interest.