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ONGC powers nation’s crude oil output rise

India’s crude oil production rose marginally by 0.8 per cent in May on the back of improved performance by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC). Crude oil production at 3.18 million tons in May was 0.8 per cent more than 3.16 million tons in the same month a year ago, an official statement issued here said.

The increase was on account of 1.8 <g data-gr-id="34">per cent</g> rise in ONGC’s oil output at 1.9 million tons. Its western offshore fields produced 8.5 <g data-gr-id="35">per cent</g> more crude oil at 1.3 million tons and helped tied over a 9 per cent drop in onshore output at 0.48 million tons.

However in April-May, the first two months of the current fiscal, the nation’s crude oil production dipped 1 <g data-gr-id="44">per cent</g> to 6.05 million tons. While ONGC produced 1.7 <g data-gr-id="45">per cent</g> more crude oil at 3.71 million tons, fields operated by private firms saw a 6.3 per cent dip at 1.92 million tons. Natural gas production declined 3.1 <g data-gr-id="46">per cent</g> in May to 2.85 billion cubic meters as ONGC saw <g data-gr-id="54">dip</g> in output. ONGC saw gas output dip by 1.8 per cent to 1.9 <g data-gr-id="47">bcm</g> while eastern offshore production dropped 8.9 <g data-gr-id="48">per cent</g> to 403.16 million cubic meters. “Restricted gas withdrawal by GAIL in view of safety issues of GAIL’s pipeline” was the reasons for lower output from eastern offshore fields, the statement said. In April-May, India’s gas production decreased 3.3 <g data-gr-id="50">per cent</g> to 6 <g data-gr-id="49">bcm</g>. ONGC’s output was down 1.7 <g data-gr-id="52">per cent</g> at 3.67 <g data-gr-id="51">bcm</g>.

The nation’s 22 refineries processed 19.7 million tons of crude oil in May, 7.9 <g data-gr-id="39">per cent</g> higher than 18.27 million tons of crude oil turned into fuel in the same month last fiscal. Public sector refiners processed 15 <g data-gr-id="40">per cent</g> more crude oil at 10.6 million tons while Reliance Industries’ twin refineries at Jamnagar saw crude throughput fall of 2.6 per cent at 5.8 million tons. Essar Oil’s Vadinar refinery, the only other private refiner in the country, processed 1.4 <g data-gr-id="41">per cent</g> more crude oil at 1.76 million tons. In April-May, refineries processed 2.6 <g data-gr-id="42">per cent</g> more crude oil at 36.8 million tons with state units seeing 6.4 <g data-gr-id="43">per cent</g> surge at 20 million tons.

RIL’s crude oil processing in the first two months of current fiscal was down 0.8 <g data-gr-id="32">per cent</g> at 10.8 million tons. Refineries operated at 102.65 per cent of the capacity in May and at just over 100 per cent in April-May. The refineries produced 5.6 <g data-gr-id="30">per cent</g> more petroleum products at 19.51 million tons in May and 0.5 <g data-gr-id="31">per cent</g> more in April-May at 35.96 million tons. 

US PE giant Carlyle to invest in Mike Watts’ India-focussed firm
US-based private equity firm Carlyle Group on Monday said it will invest $500 million in Magna Energy Ltd, an India-focused oil firm founded by Mike Watts, the man who saw oil in Rajasthan’s Thar desert where global giant Royal Dutch Shell saw none. Carlyle, the second private equity fund after Warburg Pincus to have backed management team in creation of upstream firm, will fund Magna’s <g data-gr-id="90">bit</g> to become a full-cycle oil and gas company through acquisitions and by securing local licences in India. Magna, Carlyle Group said in a statement, will primarily focus on development and production with a secondary focus on exploration. 

This is the single-largest private equity funding transaction in the Indian oil and gas field, a sector largely dominated by large established firms. Watts, who superannuated as Deputy CEO of Cairn Energy in 2014, had founded Magna with his former CFO-turned-Managing Director Jann Brown to invest in oil and gas fields in South Asia. Magna plans to bid for small and medium sized fields which are to be auctioned by the government later this fiscal as also in future exploration licensing rounds, he said. Watts, the former Exploration Director with Cairn Energy plc of UK, was the person who first discovered natural gas in KG basin block in 2001, a year before Reliance Industries’ struck in the neighbouring KG-D6 block, and then struck Mangala oilfield in Rajasthan in 2004 - the biggest <g data-gr-id="92">onland</g> oil discovery in the country. He was the person who convinced Cairn Energy board to acquire the Rajasthan block from Shell, which wanted to exit the block as it saw little hydrocarbon potential. 

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