ONGC to invite foreign partners for Category-II, III oilfields

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 28, 2021

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) on Wednesday said it will invite foreign partners to explore the blocks that the firm has been allotted under Category-II and Category-III of the Open Acreage Licensing Policy.

“Intention is to invite foreign participations to explore Category-II and Category-III basins which match size and scale of expectations and portfolio of these large players,” ONGC said in a statement.

Under the licensing policy, Category-II basins are those with contingent resources that are yet to be converted to recoverable reserves. Category-III basins have prospective resources with no hydrocarbon discovery. ONGC owns the licence for one Category-II block in the Cambay basin, as well as two blocks each from the Cauvery and Mumbai Offshore basins, among others under Category-III.

The firm has entered the second phase of discussions with US oil and gas major ExxonMobil for exploration and development of deep water basins such as Cauvery, a senior ONGC official had told BusinessLine last month.

Refuting media reports of a restructuring of the PSU by the Centre that could significantly affect the firm’s viability, the statement said “The government has been continuously encouraging ONGC to play a much larger role in the context of India’s oil and gas sector. The ongoing discussions are neither new nor intended to limit the role or growth of ONGC.”

“Despite uneconomical gas prices, ONGC has been aggressively pursuing its deepwater projects on the East Coast and a couple of shallow water projects on the West Coast. ONGC has also a plan of acquiring much larger acreage through OALP,” it said. Further, decisive steps on re-structuring can be evaluated only once the industry is completely under GST regime, the statement added.

Mozambique project on hold

French oil major Total has withdrawn all personnel from the Area 1 Mozambique LNG project and declared force majeure under the threat of militant attacks due to the worsened security situation in the north of the Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique, ONGC added.

ONGC’s overseas arm ONGC Videsh Ltd holds a 16 per cent Participating Interest (PI) in the Area 1 concession through its subsidiaries ONGC Videsh Rovuma Limited (OVRL) and Beas Rovuma Energy Mozambique Limited (BREML).

Published on April 28, 2021

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