By Promit Mukherjee and Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Global energy giant Exxon Mobil Corp will offer its expertise and technology to India's biggest state-owned explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd to help develop its resources in offshore blocks, according to two sources directly privy to the development.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed late Monday, will be later signed as a definitive deal after Exxon studies the blocks of the company, one of the sources told Reuters.
Lately, India is generating a lot of interest worldwide in its oil and gas operations, as growing demand amid a global slowdown and government policies have made investments and returns attractive.
"Witnessed the exchange of a MoU between ONGC and ExxonMobil to identify areas for exploration in deep water in east and west coast of India," Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in a tweet.
ONGC and ExxonMobil will also jointly identify areas to submit bids for more exploration assets in India, he added.
ONGC is currently developing deep water oil and gas blocks in India's east coast, which are expected to come onstream by 2020 and produce 15 million standard cubic metres per day (mscmd) of gas at its peak.
On Monday, Exxon signed another memorandum with India's biggest refiner Indian Oil Corp Ltd to explore ways to supply liquefied natural gas to meet India's 1burgeoning gas demand.
French energy major Total SA also announced that it would buy around 35% stake in India's Adani Gas Ltd.
"It is a non-binding agreement. It is a technical tie up. The MoU provides a framework to enable future tie ups between the two companies," one of the sources said.
(Reporting by Promit Mukherje and Nidhi Verma in New Delhi; Editing by Rashmi Aich)