Home | News    Wednesday 22 February 2006

Indian Reliance to win Sudanese oil blocks

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Feb 21, 2006 (NEW DELHI) — Sudan had decided to award two oil and gas exploration blocks to Reliance Industries Ltd., a statement from a business chamber quoted the Sudanese ambassador as saying.

A Reliance spokesman was not immediately available for comment, but industry sources said the company, which operates India’s largest refinery and has discovered one of its largest gas fields, was in talks with Sudanese authorities.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India said Sudan’s ambassador, Abdul Mahmoud Mohamed, had told Indian businessmen that the contracts would be finalised soon.

"Addressing an internal discussion ... Dr Mohamed announced that the government of Sudan has already decided to award two oil and gas blocks to Reliance for which contracts would be finalised and thereafter signed shortly," the statement said.

India, which imports 70 percent of the oil it consumes, is encouraging companies to acquire foreign petroleum assets as domestic output, mostly from ageing fields, has declined and no large discoveries have been reported for decades.

India’s oil demand is expected to grow with the economy, Asia’s third largest, likely to expand by 7-8 percent a year.

State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd., has led the country’s efforts to buy foreign oil assets and has stakes in projects in more than a dozen countries including Russia, Sudan and Vietnam.

Since last year, private firms have also started bidding for foreign oilfields.

Essar oil has signed contracts to explore oil and gas in Myanmar, while Videocon Industries, won an exploration block in Nigeria.

Last week, sources said Videocon and state-owned Gujarat State Petroleum Corp. Ltd. were set to buy 20 percent each in an Australian exploration blocks.

(Reuters)

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