ONGC denies joint $5B bid for Canadian oil sands stake

State-run Indian oil company says it hasn't made a foreign takeover bid on six Alberta oil plays owned by ConocoPhillips.

September 26, 2012   by The Canadian Press

MUMBAI, India—State run Indian oil giant Oil and Natural Gas Corp. denied Tuesday that it and two other state-run oil companies have jointly bid $5 billion for a stake in six Canadian oilsands assets owned by US energy giant ConocoPhillips, the Press Trust of India reported.

However, the PTI report suggested the companies haven’t completely ruled out making an offer at some point.

“I can categorically say that we have not made a bid yet for the $5 billion deal,” ONGC chairman and managing director Sudhir Vasudeva told PTI.

Vasudeva said that ONGC is looking for overseas acquisitions, but declined to comment on specific deals or timelines.

News reports Monday, quoting anonymous sources, said that ONGC, Indian Oil Corp. and Oil India Ltd. made a joint, non-binding bid for the Canadian assets in July.

Canada’s federal government has been ambiguous about its position on major acquisitions by state-owned foreign companies. Although the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is generally in favour of foreign investment in Canada, it has blocked two major deals since coming two power.

A $15-billion purchase of Calgary-based Nexen Inc. by China’s CNOOC has been overwhelmingly approved by shareholders but the deal will require approval by the federal government.

India imports three-quarters of its oil and its state-owned oil companies have been looking to secure energy supplies overseas to meet rising domestic demand.

Executives at the three Indian companies could not be reached for comment on the PTI report.

“We do not comment on market rumours,” said ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Davy Kong.

©The Canadian Press

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