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Foreign firms eye ONGC oil blocks

April 10, 2006 09:21 IST
Foreign oil majors BP and BHP Billiton have shown an interest in picking up stake in two Oil and Natural Gas Corporation nomination blocks - the Konkan-Kerala basin and Gujarat Kutch.

"The companies have requested that they be allowed to study the data. If they find the blocks promising, they will submit expressions of interest," a government official told Business Standard.

ONGC has already relinquished three deep water blocks in the Kerala-Konkan basin, as it felt they did not have much prospects.

Last year, apart from offering 20 blocks under the fifth round of the National Exploration Licensing Policy, 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.

Nomination blocks were awarded to public sector companies ONGC and Oil India Ltd before the NELP was announced.  At present, ONGC holds 112 nomination blocks.

Apart from the three deep water blocks in the Kerala-Konkan basin, ONGC has also relinquished 13 more blocks in the Bengal onshore, Assam Arakan belt, Himalayan foothills, Vidhayan, and Cauvery and Cambay basin after finding them unpromising.

ONGC is seeking partners for developing its nomination blocks and has also come out with tenders for service contracts for marginal fields.

Marginal fields are those which are not expected to have substantial reserves. About 16 companies have evinced interest in servicing these fields. ONGC has about 93 marginal fields in the country.

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Vishaka Zadoo in New Delhi
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