British Gas in talks for Indian exploration blocks

A unit of BG Group PLC said it has initiated talks with prominent Indian companies with which it would like to form a joint venture in competing for deepwater oil and gas blocks.

Aug 13th, 2002

By an OGJ correspondent

MUMBAI, Aug. 13 -- A unit of BG Group PLC said it has initiated talks with prominent Indian companies with which it would like to form a joint venture in competing for deepwater oil and gas blocks during the forthcoming third round of bidding under the New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP-III).

"We would like to form joint ventures for developing the blocks we are awarded," said Nigel Shaw, chief operating officer of BG India Pte. Ltd. "We have held talks with all major exploration companies in India for (that) purpose," he added.

Prospective partners include the state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp., Gas Authority of India Ltd., and Oil India Ltd. and the privately owned Hindustan Oil Exploration Co.

In 2001, BG India had an exploration success ratio of 71%, concluding operations on 14 exploratory and appraisal wells, 10 of which were successful.

Under the first two rounds of NELP, which began in 1999, 47 contracts were signed (OGJ Online, Apr. 22, 2002). There will be 27 fields offered under NELP-III.

"We are looking at various factors, such as cost of drilling and developing the fields," Shaw said, adding, "We are currently concentrating on the CB-OS-1 Block, off the Cambay basin, and the Panna, Mukta, and Tapti fields that we acquired earlier this year from (Enron Corp.) unit Enron India."

Shaw noted, "Although all our fields in India are on the west coast, we see no problem in taking on blocks along the eastern coast. The east coast shows plenty of potential, with (nearby) Bangladesh having huge reserves of gas. But it could take a long time to develop—up to 10 years."

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