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Asia Pulse: INT'L OIL GIANTS SEEK EXCLUSION OF INDIA'S ONGC, RIL FROM NELP VI

INT'L OIL GIANTS SEEK EXCLUSION OF INDIA'S ONGC, RIL FROM NELP VI
Asia Pulse; Apr 18, 2006

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NEW DELHI, April 18 Asia Pulse – Oil giants Shell, Exxon and BP have sought a ban on bidding by India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) (BSE:500312) and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) (BSE:500325) for fresh oil and gas blocks put on tender in the sixth round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).

During the one-on-one meetings at the NELP-VI roadshows in London and Houston, the multinationals said that since state-owned ONGC and private sector Reliance Industries already had too many exploration blocks with them, they must be kept out of the new round, industry sources said.

Most of the global oil giants have stayed away from the previous five auctions due to aggressive bidding by the domestic majors. However, NELP-VI has evoked considerable interest after major gas strikes by Reliance and ONGC-Cairn Energy in Bay of Bengal and big oil finds by Cairn Energy in Rajasthan.

The MNCs said a “holiday” from bidding for fresh exploration blocks would also ensure that ONGC and RIL concentrate on drilling their current blocks rather than seek time extensions due to paucity of equipment and manpower.

Sources said the MNCs felt threatened by the aggressive fiscal terms offered by ONGC and Reliance and thus the demand for their exclusion.

More than Rs 400 million (US$8.9 million) worth of data has already been sold to companies worldwide. This was far higher than the entire value of the data sold during the earlier round when data worth about Rs 200 million was sold.

Bids for NELP-VI are due September 15.

(PTI)

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