For sale: 60% stake of Amguri oilfield in Assam

Vol 15, PW 9 (03 Nov 11) Exploration & Production

Who will show interest is anyone’s guess but that isn’t stopping the oil ministry promoting a plan to auction 60% of the discovered Amguri oil and gasfield in Assam.

Acting on oil ministry instructions, the DGH published a 93-page tender document on October 15 inviting consultants to apply for the job of determining an indicative or ‘reserve’ price for the 60% stake, currently held by ONGC. “The oil ministry wants to determine a ‘reserve (indicative) price’ for the 60% stake,” explains the DGH.

“After that it will decide whether to sell or not to sell this stake.” Tender documents for the ‘surface and sub-surface’ evaluation assignment are available on the DGH website till November 8 following which a pre-bid meeting will be organised on November 15 and technical and price bids accepted on December 5.

No date is fixed to open price bids but once the contract is awarded the winning consultant will be asked to submit a draft report within 60 days. “This might be rejected by the DGH or the oil ministry,” we hear.

“But if we accept, the consultant will have 15 days to submit a final report.” Located in remote north-eastern Assam, the 52.75-sq km Amguri field is currently producing nothing.

According to a source, ONGC has “buggered up” the only gas producing well at the field through mismanagement since it took on the operator role and acquired the 60% stake held by bankrupt Canadian operator Canoro Resources in April. Still unclear is how Assam Company, which holds the remaining 40% at Amguri, will respond to government plans to auction the 60% stake.

“Under the PSC it is clearly stated the Assam Company has first right of refusal to take this 60% if it is a ‘non-defaulting’ party,” we hear, “and if it meets certain financial and technical criteria.”