Jubilant desperate for ONGC to buy Tripura stake

Vol 17, PW 23 (03 Jul 14) People & Policy

Jubilant Energy and GAIL are desperately hoping ONGC will buy their stakes at onland Tripura block AA-ONN-2002/1 in northeast India - site of the Kathalachari-I and North Atharamura-1 gas discoveries.

Operator Jubilant (20%) needs funds fast to repay debts of $487m and wants to exit completely. "We're talking to ONGC and other companies to sell our share," confirms Jubilant.

GAIL (80%) is also talking to ONGC about selling part of its share. "We want to ‘farm out’ up to half our stake to lower risk," adds GAIL.

Jubilant and GAIL have sunk more than Rs600cr ($100m) in exploration at the block and want ONGC to pay a share of past costs plus a premium for their stakes. "We'll meet ONGC in the next 10 days to fix a price,” says a consortium source, “and might hire a merchant bank for advice.

” ONGC viewed data on 1260-sq km NELP-IV block AA-ONN-2002/1 last month (May) and is interested, he adds. Last year Jubilant sold $15.8m worth of oil and gas from its Kharsang and Sanand-Miroli fields, down from $17.8m the previous year, just enough to cover the hefty $13m a year interest on its debts - clearly a company not in the greatest health.

“We're exploring other avenues (besides debt) to raise capital,” reads Jubilant's end of year statement issued on June 26.