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Home > India > Business > PTI > Report

L N Mittal may float oil firm

May 01, 2008 16:26 IST

Steel czar Lakshmi N Mittal is mulling floating an oil and gas company as part of his inorganic growth path for achieving bid in the hydrocarbon sector.

Mittal is likely to transfer oil and gas assets he has acquired over the past two years to the new firm, industry sources said.

Currently, Mittal family's holding company Mittal Investment holds the 50 per cent stake the steel baron had acquired in Kazakhstan oil firm Caspian Investment Resources and the three per cent stake in Chevron-operated Olokola LNG (OK-LNG) project in Nigeria.

The new company will takeover these and possibly also Mittal's 49 per cent stake in Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd's Bhatinda refinery, they said.

The new firm will be besides Mittal's joint venture with Oil and Natural Gas Corp, ONGC-Mittal Energy Ltd. OMEL, which was set up to leverage strengths of the two giants to acquire oil and gas assets in 27 countries, has since 2005 bagged two lucrative oil blocks in Nigeria, one gas block in Trinidad and Tobago, an oilfield in Syria and a gas block in Turkmenistan.

Sources said OMEL may continue to work along side, even though Mittal is withdrawing the chief financial officer H Bhantia he had loaned to the venture. OMEL is without a CEO since August 2007 when Naresh K Nayyar resigned to join Essar.

Mittal's new company may also trade in oil and gas after his venture for the purpose with ONGC [Get Quote], ONGC Mittal Energy Services Ltd, folded up last year.

Sudhir Maheshwari, Mittal's acquisition man, is likely to head the new venture, sources said. Maheshwari currently is executive vice president (Finance and M&A) in ArcelorMittal.

ONGC and Mittal had come together in 2005 to work exclusively in Angola, Azerbaijan, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Besides, 17 countries - Bosnia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Macedonia, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Soa Tome and Principe, South Africa, Sudan, the United Kingdom and the US, were identified to bid for oil and gas assets on case-to-case basis.

Besides Bhatinda refinery, Mittal has also signed an agreement with HPCL [Get Quote] and Total of France for exploring possibility of setting up another refinery at Vizag in Andhra Pradesh. He is also interested in taking stake in HPCL's exploration arm Prize Petroleum, sources said.

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