Our Bureau

New Delhi, Dec. 2

BG Exploration and Production India Ltd (BGEPIL) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on Friday announced that they have reached an agreement to jointly operate three offshore deepwater exploration blocks on the east coast of the country.

These three blocks cover a total area of 3,090 sq km.

Subject to agreement on farm-in arrangements and Government's approval, BGEPIL and ONGC would each own a 50 per cent interest in these blocks, according to an official statement.

The blocks, KG-OS-DW III ("GD"), KG-OS-DW ("KD") and KG-OS-DW ("KD Extn"), are located in the Krishna Godavari (KG) Basin, and in the vicinity of several blocks in which there have been recent discoveries.

BGEPIL has agreed to pay $5 million up-front payment for each block upon receipt of Government approval of the farm-in, and additional consideration would be paid towards exploration costs as well as a payment made upon discovery, the statement said.

ONGC and BG India have also agreed to explore other mutually beneficial opportunities in India and overseas. The deepwater exploration blocks were assigned to ONGC by the Government on a nomination basis and on New Exploration Licencing Policy terms for exploration and development in partnership with a global major oil and gas company. ONGC had marketed these blocks during NELP-V with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Mr Subir Raha, Chairman and Managing Director, ONGC, said, "ONGC is happy to welcome BG, after Cairn and ENI, as joint operator in these exploration blocks. We are happy that the joint operatorship framework promoted by ONGC in the Panna, Mukta and Tapti producing fields has generated the confidence for such a partnership in India and abroad."

Mr Frank Chapman, Chief Executive, BG Group Plc, said, "This arrangement marks the beginning of BG India's diversification of its upstream portfolio from current interests in producing fields on the west coast of India to a new growing hydrocarbon region on the east coast. The KG Basin looks set to become an important gas province for India and we are committed to playing a part in its development."

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ONGC draws blank in discoveries, Cairn Energy tops the list: DGH

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 3, 2005)
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