Millennium Post

OVL & OIL to buy Videocon’s 10% in Mozambique gas field

In the third acquisition in ten months, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) along with Oil India Ltd will buy Videocon Industries’ 10 per cent stake in a giant Mozambique gas field for $2.5 billion and may pay a similar amount to buy a further 10 per cent stake from Anadarko of US.
ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), sewed India's second biggest energy acquisition ever when it along with OIL agreed to pay $2.475 billion for Videocon's 10 per cent stake in the Rovuma-1 field.

The Rovuma field may hold as much as 65 Trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of inplace gas reserves, more than 10 times the reserves in Reliance Industries' eastern offshore KG-D6 fields, and has the potential to become one of the world's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) producing hubs by 2018.

Besides the acquisition price, OVL-OIL will have to pay their share of the field development cost and the LNG plant. Field development and the LNG unit will cost a total of $15 billion dollars and their share will come to $1.5 billion.

'OVL and OIL signed definitive agreements in Singapore on 25 June with Videocon Mauritius Energy Ltd to acquire 100 per cent of shares in Videocon Mozambique Rovuma 1 Ltd, the company holding a 10 per cent participating interest in the Rovuma Area 1 Offshore Block in Mozambique (Area 1) for $2,475 million,' the two firms said in a press statement.

The acquisition will be done through a joint venture that OVL and OIL have floated. OVL will hold 60 per cent of the venture and OIL the remaining 40 per cent. The transaction is to close in the last quarter of 2013. OVL-OIL need approval of the Mozambique and Indian government, regulatory permissions and existing partners in Rovuma-1 area waiving off their pre-emption rights for the deal to go through. Since September last year, OVL has announced deals worth about $8.5 billion.

OVL has completed acquisition of Hess Corp's 2.7 per cent stake in Azerbaijan's largest oil field and an associated pipeline for $1 billion. Last November, it announced a $5 billion purchase of ConocoPhillips's 8.4 per cent stake in Kazakhstan's Kashagan project, touted as the biggest oil find since the 1960s when it was discovered in 2000. OVL is awaiting Kazaksthan government's approval for the deal.

US' Anadarko Petroleum, the operator of Rovuma-1 field, and Videocon had each launched an auction of their respective 10 per cent stakes in the Mozambique field earlier this year. OVL-OIL bid for both Videocon and Anadarko's stakes. A deal was struck with Videocon and the duo are advanced stage of negotiations to buy Anadarko's 10 per cent stake. That deal, sources say, too may be announced in coming weeks. The transaction was first announced by ONGC on 10 June and withdrawn the same day for being 'premature'.

Mozambique may hold 250 Tcf of gas reserves and OVL-OIL deal follows China National Petroleum Corp buying a 20 per cent stake in another block in the Rovuma area for $4.2 billion from Italy's Eni.

'The Area 1 LNG project is strategically located to supply LNG to India at a competitive price. Participation of OVL and OIL in the project will facilitate access of LNG to the growing Indian gas market,' OVL statement said.

'OVL and OIL will need to devote significant funding and technical resources to the development of the project, which will also enhance the strong business and cultural links between Mozambique and India,' it said.

Area 1 covers about 2.6 million acres in the deep-water Rovuma Basin offshore Mozambique and represents the largest gas discovery offshore East Africa with estimated recoverable reserves of 35-65 Tcf. The gas found in Offshore Area 1 is to be turned into liquefied natural gas (LNG) and shipped to markets like India.
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