China and India's largest oil companies signed a pact on June 18 to cooperate on worldwide oil and gas exploration . . . Indian firm Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), both state-owned companies, signed the agreement . . . ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Sudhir Vasudeva said ONGC "drew upon" positive experiences collaborating with CNPC in ONG's operations in Syria, Sudan, and Burma . . . . CNPC Chairman Jiang Jiemen lauded ONGC for its "comprehensive E&P infrastructure" and "strong financials" . . . "We think it is better to cooperate than compete," said Dinesh Sarraf, managing director of ONGC's overseas investment arm, ONGC Videsh Ltd . . .while still rivals, China and India have improved trade relations over the last few years . . . this new energy cooperation agreement reflects the mutual need by both states to find new sources to meet their skyrocketing energy needs . . . despite this cooperation, the fierce Chinese-Indian competition to lock up Third World energy reserves – especially in Africa – is likely to continue.