Tuesday, December 23, 2008

India Natural Gas Exploration Licenses Granted

MUMBAI (India) - INDIA has awarded exploration rights for 44 oil and gas blocks, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas said on Monday.
The state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. and its partners dominated, sweeping up licenses for 20 of the blocks.

Australia's BHP Billiton and its local partner GVK Oil & Gas Ltd., a subsidiary of GVK Power & Infrastructure Limited, took licenses for seven deep-water blocks.

Reliance Industries Ltd. and BP Plc. got rights for a single deep-water area off India's eastern coast.

Reliance has a 70 per cent interest and BP holds the remaining 30 per cent stake in the 1,949 sq. kilometre block, which lies about 100 kilometres away from existing deep water oil and gas discoveries in India's Krishna Godavari basin, the companies said on Monday.

Reliance spokesman E. Mohan Reddy said it was too early to tell how the falling price of oil might affect the feasibility of deep-water drilling, which is costly and technologically complex.

He said the companies are now surveying the area to see how much oil and gas they can extract. Once that's complete, he said, 'we'll see whether it's worth it.' The ministry said it expects US$8.3 billion (S$12.03 billion) in exploration expenditure. It received bids from 95 companies, including 21 foreign firms, the highest for any licensing round. -- AP

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