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Home >> China
UPDATED: 08:28, January 13, 2006
China, India aim for energy co-operation
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China and India signed a slew of co-operation pacts in the hydrocarbon sector yesterday to ensure secure energy supplies.

In a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed yesterday between Mani Shankar Aiyar, the visiting Indian petroleum and natural gas minister, and Ma Kai, director of China's National Development and Reform Commission, both sides identified key areas for partnerships.

They include upstream exploration and production, refining and marketing of petroleum products and petrochemicals, research and development, conservation, and promotion of environment-friendly fuels.

The MOU also allows trading in oil and joint bidding in third countries that will help both nations reduce the burden on the exchequers.

"We look upon China not as a strategic competitor but as a strategic partner," said Aiyar at a news conference at the Indian Embassy in Beijing last night.

Besides the MOU, five commercial agreements were also signed between Indian and Chinese firms, Aiyar said.

His three-day visit, which started on Wednesday, comes at a time when the two countries have emerged as significant consumers of hydrocarbon resources.

Over the past year, there have been a number of occasions when Indian and Chinese companies publicly competed for the same assets, such as in Angola, Kazakhstan and Ecuador.

That rivalry was highlighted this week when China National Overseas Oil Corp (CNOOC) announced its purchase of a 45-per cent stake in the Akpo field off the Nigerian coast for US$2.3 billion.

Aiyar's trip has raised expectations that China and India which rely heavily on energy imports to power their economies will put aside their competing strategies to work together.

"Co-operation between India and China in third countries is not only eminently desirable; it is also entirely feasible," Aiyar said.

Three Chinese firms including Sinopech and CNOOC Limited have joined hands with their Indian counterparts.

Source: China Daily

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