Algeria, Sudan and Oman focus for ONGC Videsh

Vol 5, PW 26 (27 Feb 02) Exploration & Production

ONGC VIDESH IS preparing to bid for Block 242 in Algeria.

Sonatrach, the Algerian state-owned oil company, is in the process of inviting global bids for the block and PETROWATCH learns an ONGC Videsh representative is this month travelling to Algeria to sit in with other bidders to hear a presentation. Bidding, we are told, will take place in April.

Block 242 is a discovered oilfield with an exploration component. What are the estimated reserves "Reserves are good by global standards but we cannot give any figures as we are bound by a confidentiality agreement," reveals a source.

"We will be bidding alone for the block." Elsewhere ONGC Videsh is set to negotiate with Canada's Talisman Energy Corporation to buy its 25% stake in a Sudan oilfield. After buying out Talisman, ONGC Videsh plans to keep around 15% and will offer the rest to Indian Oil, which wants to develop an upstream portfolio.

Present production from the field is 12m t/y of crude, whose grade is equivalent to (Egyptian) Minas. How much money will ONGC Videsh have to pay for the Sudan stake Analysts tell it the Talisman stake is worth between $600m and $800m.

Today the field is run by a consortium of Chinese National Oil Corporation. (40%), Petronas (30%), Talisman (25%) and Sudan National Oil Company (5%).