India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has entered into a head of agreement (HoA) with ExxonMobil to conduct deepwater exploration in the eastern and western coasts of the country.

The HoA was signed by ONGC Exploration director Rajesh Kumar Srivastava and ExxonMobil India CEO and Lead Country Manager Dr Monte K Dobson. Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas secretary Pankaj Jain was also present at the signing ceremony.

As agreed, the two companies will work together on the Krishna Godavari and Cauvery Basins in the eastern offshore and the Kutch-Mumbai region in the western offshore.

The collaboration is expected to benefit from ONGC’s prior knowledge on the areas and ExxonMobil’s global insights.

Petroleum Secretary Pankaj Jain said: “Partnerships between a National Oil Company (NOC) like ONGC and an International Oil Company (IOC) like ExxonMobil will bring tangible benefits in the entire energy value chain and open new vistas to Exploration & Production paradigm.

“This collaboration will boost our confidence in going further ahead in deepwater exploration in the east coast of India where the potential is quite significant.”

Srivastava stated: “With this strategic collaboration to pursue exploration, I look forward to long lasting partnership.

“Through the discovery route, ONGC hopes to move to development wherein the inherent strength of ExxonMobil would be beneficial for efficient fast-track monetisation. This will enable ONGC to ensure steps towards Energy Security for India.”

India is one of the largest oil importers in the world. It procures around 85% of its oil needs from foreign countries, reported Reuters.

In June, ONGC’s international subsidiary ONGC Videsh made a new discovery in Llanos Basin, Colombia.