By RAKESH SHARMA July 19, 2012, 3:24 a.m. ET
NEW DELHI -- India's state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp. will continue to explore for oil and gas offshore Vietnam in the South China Sea, ignoring objections from China.
ONGC Videsh Ltd., the overseas investment arm of ONGC, has accepted Vietnam's proposal to stay invested in Block 128 as Hanoi has offered additional data that can help to make future exploration economically feasible and discovering hydrocarbons commercially viable, a senior executive with the company said Thursday.
The move is an about-turn, as India's junior oil minister R.P.N. Singh had said in parliament in May that ONGC Videsh had decided to return Block 128 to Vietnam as exploration there wasn't commercially viable.
A renewed push into the South China Sea will strengthen India's ties with Vietnam but will rile China, which has opposed India's presence in the region, claiming its own territorial rights over the potentially energy-rich sea.
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