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Gail eyes stake in oil block in Argentina

July 21, 2003 13:53 IST

Gas Authority of India Ltd is eyeing a stake in the oil and gas exploration blocks in Argentina and Mozambique and planning city gas projects in several countries to expand its international operations.

"We are evaluating Shell's offer for a minority stake in an exploration block in Argentina. We are also looking at a project in Mozambique," Proshanto Banerjee, chairman and managing director, Gail, told PTI in New Delhi on Monday.

Gail, which already has a 10 per cent stake in A-1 gas field off Myanmar's northwestern coast, is also talking to Shell for picking up stake in two city gas distribution companies in Egypt.

"Shell has offered us 19 per cent equity in Fayum gas company and 10 per cent equity in Shell CNG company (both in Egypt). The financial, legal and technical due diligence study for both have been completed and valuation and other terms and conditions for investment are under preparation," he said.

The Fayum gas company supplies piped natural gas for domestic consumption, while Shell CNG retails compressed natural gas for automobiles in Cairo.

Besides, the feasibility of participation in another gas distribution company in Egypt - Natgas - is under evaluation, he said, adding the British Gas has also offered equity participation in its gas distribution company in Brazil.

Gail, which signed an agreement with Botas of Turkey for helping it set up city based gas distribution system and CNG network for automobiles in Istanbul and Ankara, is eyeing the CNG distribution projects in Manila and Philippines, Banerjee said.

He said the foreign operations might account for 15 per cent of Gail's turnover in the next 10 years when the firm's total revenues should double to Rs 20,000 crore (Rs 200 billion).

Gail had also prepared a detailed feasibility report for a city gas project in Dhaka and is in talks for similar projects in Cairo, Manila, Istanbul and the Iranian city of Isfahan, he said.

"The huge success of running Delhi's entire transport fleet on CNG and our expertise in creating, operating and maintaining the infrastructure is what many countries are seeking today," he said.

Philippines, which is facing trouble controlling the vehicular pollution, has invited Gail to set up a CNG infrastructure in the country.

"They are working with Ashok Leyland on a project on CNG bus for demonstration. We have offered that Gail and Ashok Leyland or Gail and Tata can together take up this project," he said.

Gail has also offered to lay Bat Man I & II gas pipelines in Philippines. The 100-km Bat Man-I pipeline connects indigenous gas supply source to the market, while Bat Man-II is 140-km in length and connects the upcoming LNG terminal.

"Given our expertise in pipeline projects, Gail had offered to the Philippines National Oil Company to take up this project right from the feasibility report stage," he added.

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