Gas Authority of India Ltd. joins two consortia

Gas Authority of India Ltd. has joined with three other prominent oil and gas companies�Royal Dutch/Shell Group, India�s state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp., and Russian oil company Gazprom�to bid for Indian exploration blocks. GAIL has also joined a consortium to import liquefied natural gas.


MUMBAI�Gas Authority of India Ltd. has joined with three other prominent oil and gas companies to bid for Indian exploration blocks. GAIL has also joined a consortium to import liquefied natural gas.

GAIL and its partners�Royal Dutch/Shell Group, India�s state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp., and Russian oil company Gazprom�will form a consortium to bid for some of the 25 exploration blocks the Indian government will offer toward the end of December.

�We will not bid for any block alone,� said GAIL chairman C.R. Prasad. �The four of us will bid jointly for the oil and gas blocks being offered in the second round of bidding under the New Exploration Licensing Policy. We are interested in deepwater blocks.�

GAIL has also forged a three-way LNG joint venture with French company TotalFinaElf SA and the Indian Tata Group. Each parent would hold a third of the new company.

The company would import 3 million tonnes of LNG. It may add another 3 million tonnes at a later stage. It is negotiating with Oman, Yemen, and Qatar for the supply of LNG.

The Coastal Regulatory Zone has already issued clearances for the $600 million import facilities, and other environmental clearances are expected shortly.

�April 2001 is being conceived as the zero date for the project,� Prasad said. �We will invite bids for the EPC [equipment, procurement, and construction] contract for the import facilities by June 2001; and should be able to start actual imports of LNG by mid-2004.�

GAIL will also invest another 5 billion rupees ($107.5 million) to upgrade its existing pipelines for transportation of LNG from the proposed joint venture.

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