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Africa calling! Sudan offers OVL two oil and gas blocks

Sudan, which parted with most of its major oil fields when South Sudan was created in 2012, offered onland Block 8 and offshore Block 15 to OVL on a nomination basis.

‘OVL has been present in Sudan since 2003 when it bought a stake in oil producing Blocks 1, 2 and 4 and the Sudan Crude Transport System,’ Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily said after meeting Sudan’s State Minister of Petroleum Hatim Abuelgasin Mukhtar M Elamin on the sidelines of the Petrotech 2014 conference here.  Block 8 is said to have an oil discovery while Block 15 is an exploration acreage.  OVL will evaluate the data and take 100 per cent rights if it finds them feasible for investment.

‘Sudan has offered two blocks,’ Moily said. In March 2003 OVL acquired a 25 per cent interest in the Greater Nile Oil Project (GNOP), which consisted of the upstream assets of onland blocks 1, 2 and 4 spread over 49,500 square km in the Muglad Basin, located about 700 km south-west of the capital city Khartoum. 

GNOP also owns a 1,504-km crude oil pipeline from the oilfield in Heglig to Port Sudan at Red Sea. During the talks, Moily raised the issue of overdue payments for the pipeline and high transit fee imposed by the Sudan government for transit of foreign partners’ crude from South Sudan.

Moily, who used the sidelines of the oil & gas conference for some serious diplomacy with hydrocarbon-rich nations, said that in his talks with Azerbaijan’s Minister for Energy Natig Aliyev, he flagged Indian companies’ interest in taking oil and gas exploration and production as well as refinery projects in the Central Asian nation. The Azerbaijan minister welcomed India’s participation in both upstream and downstream projects.

Last year OVL bought a stake in the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oilfields as well as the Baku-Tbilsi-Ceyhan pipeline, which was supported by Azerbaijan. The south-western Asian nation is now keen to get Indian participation in more producing assets.  Also raised at the meet was the issue of Indian firms other than Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) finding it difficult to buy Azeri crude oil. IOC lifted 1.28 million tonnes (mt) of crude from Azerbaijan in 2012-13 and imported 0.9 mt during April-November of the current financial year.

During talks with Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Irene Muloni, Moily said Indian firms want to participate in Uganda’s licensing round.

Coal India declares Rs 18,317-cr dividend

Kolkata: State-owned Coal India Limited (CIL)on Tuesday declared an interim dividend of Rs 29 per share, amounting to Rs 18,317 crore, for 2013-14.

The government would get Rs 16,485.71 crore for its 90 per cent stake in the Maharatna company.
‘We have approved a dividend of Rs 29 per share of the face value of Rs 10 as recommended by the audit committee of company,’ Coal India chairman S Narsing Rao told reporters here after board meeting. The company will pay the dividend from 25 January.

The announcement follows a meeting between Finance Minister P Chidambaram and chairmen of top PSUs, including Coal India, ONGC and Indian Oil, last Friday. The government is on an overdrive to meet the disinvestment target of Rs 40,000 crore this fiscal.

Coal India Ltd dividend comes in the backdrop of government failure to disinvest 10 per cent of its shares in this year. Trade unions were opposed to further disinvestment of Coal India which was listed in November, 2010 after a blockbuster initial public offer.  The decision to pay an interim dividend will make its overseas investors richer by over Rs 1,001 crore.

Of the total proceeds, foreign institutional investors (FIIs), which as on December 2013 held 5.47 per cent stake or 34.52 crore shares, will get a a hefty Rs 1,001.08 crore. The government, which holds 90 per cent stake in Coal India Ltd (CIL), will get Rs 16,485.71 crore and use the amount in meeting the fiscal deficit target.

The other major beneficiary of the interim dividend will be Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) which holds 1.83 per cent stake in Coal India. It will get Rs 335.63 crore. Last year, it had paid Rs 9.7 per share as an interim dividend and paid it from March, 2013.
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