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Thursday, Aug 29, 2002

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Corporate - Mergers & Acquisitions

ONGC keen on HPCL, BPCL stake: Raha

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NEW DEHI, Aug. 28

OIL and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is interested in bidding for Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL), according to ONGC Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Subir Raha.

However, while the Government has already banned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) from bidding for BPCL and HPCL, the Disinvestment Ministry is keen on banning public sector undertakings from bidding for the two companies.

In this context, Mr Raha said that he had sought equal opportunity vis-a-vis the private sector from the Government to participate in the privatisation process of the two oil majors.

On the exploration front, ONGC plans to invest $2 billion annually for the next 7-10 years to double the in-place reserves to 12 billion tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas.

Speaking at a conference on oil and gas here, Mr Subir Raha said: " We plan to double in-place reserves of 5.77 billion tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas through extensive exploration efforts, particularly in deep-waters.''

Pitching for early decontrol of natural gas prices by the Government, Mr Raha said that the investment targets could be met only `when the company gets market price for its production".

"Genuine deregulation of gas has not taken place as natural gas prices are still tightly controlled by the Government,'' he added.

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