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Myanmar may award oil block to India

January 29, 2004 15:45 IST

Myanmar is likely to award at least one offshore oil and gas exploration block and refinery revamp project to Indian firms even as New Delhi is exploring the possibility of piping the huge gas reserves discovered in offshore Myanmar earlier this month.

Myanmar may award the prospective A-3 block in the Bay of Bengal to ONGC Videsh Ltd besides giving Indian Oil Corp a $116 million contract for revamping its old refinery.

"They (Myanmar government) have agreed to finalise the agreement for A-3 block as early as possible," Petroleum Minister Ram Naik told reporters after meeting his Myanmarese counterpart Lun Thi in New Delhi.

Block A-3 lies on the southern edge of Block A-1, where 4 to 6 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves was discovered earlier this month. Block A-3 is said to have both oil and gas potential while A-1 is believed to be more gas-prone.

The proximity of the two production-sharing contract areas would offer the potential to develop finds jointly or as tie-backs utilising a common export pipeline.

"We are exploring if gas from Block A-1 can be brought to India," Naik said.

Petroleum secretary B K Chaturvedi said state-run gas firm Gas Authority of India will carry out a feasibility study to explore laying pipelines - an undersea line connecting the find to eastern cost or an onland version travelling through Bangladesh into the North-East or West Bengal.

India has also offered exporting surplus diesel from Numaligarh Refinery Ltd to Myanmar, he said adding Rangoon was likely to award a $116 million oil refinery revamp contract to IOC.

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