Cairn India signs Lakshmi gas contracts

By an OGJ Online Correspondent

MUMBAI, Aug. 29 -- UK oil and gas company Cairn Energy PLC signed two gas sales contracts for its Lakshmi gas field development off Gujarat, India.

The British company contracted to sell 70 MMcfd of gas over 3 years to Gujarat Powergen Corp. and 45 MMcfd over 5 years to BG subsidiary Gujarat Gas Co. The field is scheduled to come onstream in mid-2002.

Cairn Energy expects to sign other gas sales contracts with buyers in industrialized Gujarat as other discoveries in the block, such as Ambe and Gauri, are sanctioned for development.

For the first half of 2001, Cairn announced a 25% increase in post-tax profits to £22.8m. However, turnover was flat at £56.8m.

The company's production was down 6% during the same period due to the planned partial shutdown of the Ravva field off eastern India for satellite gas development operations and because of increased government take from the field.

Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) holds 40% interest in the Ravva fields, while Videocon has a 25% stake. Cairn Energy is operator with a 12.5% stake in the field, while the remaining 12.5% is with Marubeni Corp.

Cairn's production level is unlikely to rise from its current 20,000 boe/d until mid-2002, when the Lakshmi gas development adds 10,000 boe/d.

The company expects to invest $300 million for oil and gas exploration over the next 4 years in its most recent discovery in the deep waters of the Krishna-Godavari basin, off Andhra Pradesh, eastern India.

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