NMC Health founder and chairman Dr B.R. Shetty (third from left) speaks at the India-UAE strategic enclave as Lulu Group chairman and managing director Yousuf Ali M.A. (3rd from right) and other panelist listen in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Indian companies will bid for additional concessions to develop Abu Dhabi’s oilfields as energy ties with the UAE strengthen due to close cooperation, India’s ambassador to the UAE said on Tuesday.

“For years, India [and the] UAE had [a] buyer-seller relationship in the energy sector but in the last few years the relationship transformed. We got our first significant concession in [the] Lower Zakum basin, that assures India of 1.5 million tonnes of oil per year for the next forty years,” said Navdeep Singh Suri while speaking at the India-UAE strategic enclave in Abu Dhabi.

“We are also bidding for additional concessions and from the embassy side, we are following up that process very closely,” he added, without elaborating further.

Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi and an Indian consortium led by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) signed a 10 per cent offshore concession agreement giving Indian companies an opportunity to develop Abu Dhabi’s lucrative offshore oilfields, which produce about 1.4 million barrels of oil per day.

The consortium, led by India’s ONGC Videsh, contributed a participation fee of Dh2.2 billion ($600 million) to enter the Lower Zakum concession, which will be operated by the Adnoc Offshore, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company on behalf of all concession partners.

Ambassador Suri also said both countries were cooperating closely in the oil storage sector, with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) playing an important role.

“In Mangalore we completed our first strategic petroleum reserve in partnership with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) with a capacity of six million barrels of oil. Discussions are underway for the second oil storage facility at Padur with a capacity of nine million barrels of oil.”

Adnoc is also investing in India’s $44 billion Ratnagiri petrochemical complex in cooperation with Saudi Aramco. The two companies took 50 per cent stake in the project recently, with $22 billion investment coming from these two entities.

Fast-track mechanism for UAE investors

Speaking about the investment climate in India, he said the Modi administration is pushing to remove hurdles to doing business and also encouraging foreign direct investment to boost its economy.

“The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) is the principal driver of investments in the real estate, infrastructure and renewable energy, among others,” he said. “The investment atmosphere is conducive for investors to come to India.”

He also said the government of India decided to set up a special fast-track mechanism for UAE investors headed by the secretary of the Department of Industry and by the UAE ambassador in New Delhi.

“They already had their first meeting and their intent is to resolve any issues faced by the UAE investors. This is not just to solve problems but also to encourage further UAE investments.”

Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $52 billion in 2017, with non-oil trade accounting for $34 billion. India’s FDI into the UAE last year was $6.6 billion while the UAE’s investment in India stood at $5.8 billion.