Millennium Post

OVL looks to expand its footprint in Africa

ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), is likely to bid for deepsea oil and gas blocks in Tanzania as it looks to expand its presence in energy-rich Africa.

Tanzania is offering eight blocks in its fourth offshore licensing round, bids for which close on 15 May.‘We are examining the blocks on offer. Based on our evaluation we will decide to place bids for one or more blocks,’ OVL Managing Director S P Garg said here.

The bidding round includes seven deep offshore blocks and the Lake Tanganyika North Offshore Block.

The deepsea blocks are located in water depths of 2,000 to 3,000 meters adjacent to proven prospective blocks. The Lake Tanganyika North Block is located in water depth of up to 1,500 meters along the western arm of the East African Rift System that is proven prospective for commercial liquid hydrocarbons. The blocks offered exclude offshore Blocks 1B and 1C which are reserved for the government and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) who will look to gain a strategic partner to explore these areas through a competitive process.
Asked if OVL would bid alone or take a partner, Garg said, ‘We have not decided on that. We will do that before the bid closes.’
Africa, he said, is one of the focus geographies where OVL is looking to expand its footprint. OVL currently has producing and exploration assets in Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria and Libya.

Tanzania's fourth deepwater round was originally to be launched in April 2011. At that time, nine offshore areas — Blocks 1B, 1C, 2A, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 5A and 5B were to be offered. But the round was postponed for technical reasons.

The bidding round was finally announced in October last year with Block 2A, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5b and North Lake Tanganyika put on offer. ‘We are aggressively looking at acreages, both exploration as well as producing properties, in several geographies to realise our objective of more than doubling production by 2017-18,’ Garg said.

As per ONGC Group's Perspective Plan 2030, OVL's oil and gas production should increase from the existing level of 8.36 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas to 20 million tonnes oil equivalent by 2017-18 and 60 million tonnes by 2029-30.
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