Cairn wants BPCL stake in Rajasthan block

Vol 17, PW 8 (14 Nov 13) Exploration & Production

Cairn India is struggling to get back 7997-sq km of relinquished acreage from RJ-ON-90/1 in Rajasthan as demanded by company promoter Anil Agarwal.

But as consolation it is being offered 11.11% held by Bharat PetroResources (BPRL) at nearby GAIL-operated RJ-ONN-2004/1. BPRL, the upstream arm of refiner Bharat Petroleum, is unhappy with the prospectivity of RJ-ONN-2004/1 - located west of Cairn's largest producing oilfield Mangala - and wants to exit.

“BPRL doesn’t want to continue with drilling," confirms a consortium source. "Oil ministry officials have told us to offer its stake to Cairn.

” Cairn, he adds, told the ministry it wants the stake and on November 11 the request was discussed in a meeting chaired by joint secretary exploration Aramane Giridhar with block partners. "GAIL has also talked to Cairn and will write to them officially," adds a source.

"Cairn has asked GAIL to share technical data to analyse." This isn’t the first time Cairn has shown interest in the block.

In 2006 it was one of several bidders to compete for RJ-ONN-2004/1 during NELP-VI. “If Cairn joins GAIL it will benefit both companies,” says the DGH.

“Cairn will get a stake in a block near Mangala and GAIL will get a sound technical partner who knows the area’s geology.” A Cairn spokesman said it did not comment on speculation.