Exxon, BP, ENI and BG seek Indian oil

City A.M. Reporter
STATE-RUN Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) yesterday asked foreign firms including Exxon Mobil and BP to submit proposals to buy a stake in an east coast block shunned by Brazil’s Petrobras.

UK gas major BG Group and Italy’s ENI have also shown interest in taking stakes in the deepwater block, D.K. Pande, head of exploration at ONGC, said.

“These companies have seen the data and will have to send their proposal to us by 31 May,” Pande said.

He said Brazil’s Petrobras had already exited the block, and Norway’s Statoil was a partner until end-July.

Besides offering a stake in the deepwater block, ONGC is also seeking a service contractor to develop discoveries in the 1G block, also on the east coast, awarded to it before the launch of the new exploration policy. ONGC cannot offer a stake in the 1G block.

Petrobras had a 15 per cent stake while Statoil had 10 per cent in the Krishan Godavari basin block. ONGC has a 65 per cent stake and Cairn India, the local arm of UK-based Cairn Energy holds the remaining 10 per cent.

Asked if ONGC was willing to offer a 25 per cent stake to the new partner, Pande said a decision would be taken after firms submit their proposals.

“If none of the proposals suits us then we may hire a consultant...but our priority is to get a partner, which will share profit with us and provide technology to maximise profit,” he said.

BG last month said it was keen to pull out of one of ONGC’s exploration block’s on the east coast. Partnership with a foreign firm will help ONGC step up its oil and gas output.

In the last fiscal year ended March production of oil from ONGC operated fields were two per cent less from a year ago to 497,160 barrels a day.

The fall was due to lower production at its aging fields and because it hasn’t been able to bring new blocks under production.