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Foreign firms eye ONGC oil blocks

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 16: Foreign firms BP and BHP Billiton have evinced keen interest in picking up stakes in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's (ONGC) nomination blocks in the Konkan-Kerala basin and Gujarat-Kutch offshore.

The two companies have asked ONGC to allow them to study the data and would submit expressions of interest (EOIs) soon after, official sources here said. With ONGC holding 112 nomination blocks, the state owned company is looking for oil majors to develop them.

ONGC is also planning to come out with tenders for service contracts for 93 of their marginal fields or those areas which are not expected to have substantial reserves. Sixteen companies have evinced interest in servicing these fields.

Last year the government had announced that ONGC would be offering farm-in opportunities in five deep water blocks -- three in the Krishna-Godavari basin, one in the Kerala-Konkan offshore and one in the Gujarat-Kutch offshore.

Anticipating poor prospecting results, ONGC has already relinquished three deep water blocks in the Kerala-Konkan basin.

Last year, nomination blocks were awarded to public sector companies ONGC and Oil India Ltd before the annoucement of NELP.

ONGC has also relinquished for being unpromising 13 more blocks in the Bengal onshore, Assam Arakan belt, Himalayan foothills, Vidhayan, and Cauvery and Cambay basin.

Meanwhile the Company's overseas arm, ONGC Videsh Limited is in talks with Chinese oil giant Sinopec to jointly bid to acquire onshore producing and exploration blocks in Colombia's Ominex de Colombia Ltd.

OVL wants to acquire a 50 percent or greater stake in the company which produces around 9,450 barrels per day (BPD).

Ominex is willing to sell 100 percent of its interest in the oil blocks, provided the price is right, official sources said.


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