Millennium Post

ONGC Videsh bids for New Zealand oil & gas block

New Zealand offered eight onshore and offshore blocks covering more than 190,000 square kilometres in its latest licensing round, bids for which closed in end-September. In an investor presentation, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) said OVL 'has submitted bid for New Zealand exploration block.'

It, however, did not identify the block it has bid for.

The blocks on offer include five onshore areas and three offshore exploration areas. This is OVL's maiden bid for an exploration acreage in New Zealand. OVL has 35 projects in 16 countries like Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Mozambique, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Russia.

In the presentation, ONGC said OVL produced 8.36 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas in 2013-14 fiscal, up from 7.26 million tonnes oil equivalent in the previous year.

Listing out recent acquisition, ONGC said its overseas arm acquired 2.7 per cent stake in a Azerbaijan oilfield that produces about 700,000 barrels of oil per day. Also, it picked up 16 per cent interest in a giant gas discovery area in Mozambique. The offshore gas discovery has recoverable reserves of 50-70 trillion cubic feet, out of which OVL's share would be 8-11 TCF.

The block has 'potential to become one of the world's leading LNG producing hubs, production expected by 2018,' the company said.

ONGC said OVL was recently awarded two exploration blocks each in Bangladesh and Myanmar and is 'actively pursuing 2-3 exploration blocks in Vietnam.'

OVL will take 40 per cent stake in Block 102/10 and 50 per cent in 106/10 in Vietnamese portion of the South China Sea. Alongside, PetroVietnam, the national oil company of Vietnam, will take half of OVL's 100 per cent stake in Block 128 in South China Sea which the Indian firm had earlier planned to exit. New Zealand launched the exploration round last year with a view to beef up oil-export earnings and trim dependency on agriculture. Last year it awarded 10 licences, all of them to companies already exploring for oil and gas in the country.

Crude oil is the fourth-biggest component of New Zealand's export basket in value terms after dairy, meat and wood. However, production has fallen over the past five years, with 2012 oil output averaging 40,300 barrels a day, down 13 per cent on year and nearly a third compared with 2008.
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