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Monday,25-October-2021

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Decade long payment default finally pushes ONGC out of Sudanese oilfield

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ONGC

After facing years of payment default, the country’s largest oil and gas explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has finally exited from Sudanese oilfields, relieving itself of yet another toxic overseas asset.

Company sources said that all the three overseas investors in the Sudanese oilfield including ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas investment arm of the state-owned firm, Chinese entity CNPC and Malaysia’s Petronas have now withdrawn from the block.

The OVL had a 25 per cent stake in Block 2A&4 in Sudan while CNCP had 40 per cent and Petronas 30 per cent. Sudan’s Sudapet had 5 per cent interest.

The OVL has been operating the block of Greater Nile Oil Project in Sudan along with partners CNPC and Petronas since 2003. But, Sudan has not paid all the partners for the oil bought since 2011 that had built up millions of dollars of dues with OVLs share itself coming to over $ 400 million.

Not only the payment for the oil, OVL has also not been paid for the pipeline it built connecting the oilfield to Port Sudan.

Sources said with diplomatic channels also being exhausted to resolve the issue, OVL has now initiated arbitration proceedings against the Sudanese government and has exited from the exploration and production agreement for the oilfield.

OVL had in 2003 bought 25 per cent stake in the Greater Nile Oil Project (GNOP) comprising Block 1, 2 and 4 in the undivided Sudan. It lies in the prolific Muglad basin, about 780 kms in the South-West of Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. The project produces about 50,000 barrels of oil per day.

Upon secession of South Sudan from Sudan in July 2011, the contract areas of blocks 1, 2 and 4, spread over both areas, were split with a major share of production and reserves now situated in South Sudan.

Blocks 2A, 2B and 4N are in Sudan, and blocks 1A, 1B as well as 4S are in South Sudan.

Block 2B produces 28,000 bpd of oil while Block 4 is in the exploration phase.

Sudan has not paid OVL for the oil from GNOP it consumed. Post secession, as the Sudanese government’s share of the total production in Sudan was not sufficient to meet the requirements of the local refineries, foreign firms were asked to sell their share of crude oil to it.

However, the payment on account of crude oil purchased by the Sudanese government has not been received.

Business

Equity indices trade lower; Sensex down by over 300 pts

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India’s key equity indices – S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 – traded lower during Monday’s early-morning session.

At 10 a.m., the 30-scrip sensitive index traded at 60,504.75 points, down 316.87 points or 0.52 per cent.

The Sensex opened at 61,398.75 points from its previous close of 60,821.62 points.

Besides, the NSE Nifty50 traded at 17,989.40 points, lower by 125.50 points or 0.69 per cent.

It opened at 18,229.50 points from its previous close of 18,114.90 points.

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Business

Nissan, Porsche face action over false emissions information

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South Korea’s antitrust regulator has decided to order Nissan Motor, Porsche AG and their two Korean units to take corrective steps for falsified information over gas emissions of their diesel cars.

Nissan Motor, Nissan Korea, Porsche and Porsche Korea are alleged to have stated false information about gas emissions of their diesel vehicles imported for sale in South Korea, according to the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC).

The KFTC also decided to impose a fine of 173 million won ($146,700) only on Nissan Korea, reports Yonhap news agency.

Illegal software installed in their cars caused gas emission reduction devices to not fully operate during normal driving conditions.

The practice meant that the cars did not meet permissible emission levels, but the automakers falsified such facts in signs attached to their cars, according to the commission.

In September, the regulator fined Audi-Volkswagen Korea and Stellantis Korea a combined 1.06 billion won for similar allegations over gas emissions.

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Fuel price hike paused after 5 days of increase

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The price hike of petrol and diesel paused on Monday after increasing for the last five days to reach their highest-ever levels across the country.

Accordingly, the pump price of petrol in Delhi remained at Rs 107.59 a litre, while diesel prices also stood at Sunday’s level of Rs 96.32 a litre, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

In the financial capital Mumbai, where petrol prices increased to Rs 113.47 per litre and diesel to Rs 104.47 a litre, the highest among all metros, there was no further hike in the retail rates on Monday.

The fuel prices remained static on October 18 and 19, but increased for a fourth straight day by 35 paise per litre previously before again rising for five consecutive days between October 20 to 24. There was no change in rates on October 12 and 13.

Diesel prices have now increased on 24 out of the last 31 days, taking up its retail price by Rs 7.80 per litre in Delhi.

Due to the sharp hike, the fuel is now available at over Rs 100 a litre in several parts of the country.

This dubious distinction was earlier available to petrol that had crossed Rs 100 a litre mark across the country a few months earlier.

Petrol prices had maintained stability since September 5 but oil companies finally raised its pump prices last week.

The rates increased on 21 of the previous 27 days taking up the pump price of petrol by Rs 6.40 per litre.

Crude price has been on a surge rising over a three-year high level of over $86 a barrel as global demand remains firm while OPEC+ continues to move s lowly on increasing production.

Since September 5, wthe price of petrol and diesel in the international market is higher by around $9-10 per barrel as compared to average prices during August.

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