State-run exploration company Oil and Natural Gas Corp plans to approach Marathon Oil about buying half of its 20 per cent stake in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project in Canada, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Monday.
ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of ONGC, tried last year to acquire a stake in the Shell-operated 255,000 barrel-a-day mining and synthetic crude processing operation, but the deal did not materialise, the sources said.
ONGC will again discuss the issue with Marathon Oil Chairman Clarence P Cazlot, who is scheduled to attend the Petrotech energy conference in Delhi on Monday and Tuesday, said the sources, who were not authorised to speak to media.
The New Delhi government has told state firms to secure energy assets overseas as the world's No 4 oil importer looks for supplies to power its $2 trillion economy. ONGC Videsh Managing Director D. K. Sarraf declined to comment.
Shell owns 60 percent of the Athabasca project, which includes the Muskeg River and Jackpine mines, according to Shell Canada's website. Marathon and Chevron each own 20 percent.
The Muskeg River mine's current production capacity is 155,000 barrels per day (bpd), while the Jackpine mine has a capacity of 100,000 barrels per day, it said.
Last month, sources said a trio of state-run Indian oil companies, including ONGC, bid $5 billion for stakes in Canadian oil sands holdings owned by ConocoPhillips.