The two firms will undertake exploration work, focusing on the Krishna Godavari and Cauvery basins in the eastern offshore area and the Kutch-Mumbai region in the western offshore area.
The HoA follows a scientific exchange of exploration data between the two companies in the last few years.
In a statement, ONGC said: “Collaboration between ONGC and ExxonMobil will be a strategic fit where ONGC’s knowledge and past experience in these areas will be coupled with ExxonMobil’s global insights.”
India is one of the world’s biggest oil importers and consumers. The country imports more than 85% of its oil needs from overseas.
The latest move is part of the country’s efforts to rapidly monetise its oil and gas resources and reduce its dependence on imports.
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ONGC exploration director Rajesh Kumar Srivastava said that firm is looking for a ‘long lasting partnership’ with US energy giant Exxon.
Srivastava added: “Through the discovery route, ONGC hopes to move to development wherein the inherent strength of ExxonMobil would be beneficial for efficient, fast-track monetization. This will enable ONGC to ensure steps towards energy security for India.”
Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Secretary Pankaj Jain said that the partnerships between ONGC and ExxonMobil is expected to bring tangible benefits to the entire energy value chain. It is also expected to open new vistas to the Exploration and Production paradigm.
Jain added: “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.”