Niko and Gujarat Petroleum row over consultant

Vol 5, PW 8 (06 Jun 01) Exploration & Production

If court battles weren't enough, we learn Gujarat Petroleum and Niko Resources are now arguing over the choice of a reservoir consultant to provide an independent estimate of in-place reserves at Hazira! Niko wants to appoint Ryder Scott based in Calgary, while Gujarat Petroleum wants Dallas-based DeGolyer and McNaughton.

Caught in the middle is the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, which will have to make the final decision. Appointment of an independent consultant is pressing since Niko drilled an appraisal well in March.

Results from this well are prompting speculation of a hike in reserves in-place at Hazira from 1.45 trillion cubic feet to two trillion cubic feet. "It would be good for everyone if this were true, especially Gujarat Petroleum because they own the bulk of the gas," reveals a source.

"But we need to be sure it's not being announced simply to ramp Niko's share price." Gujarat Petroleum, a state-owned company owns 67% of the Hazira gasfield. Niko has a 33% stake.

Meetings were held at the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons in Delhi on 31st May to make the case for a 10-15 slot, one-offshore platform development programme. Hazira gasfield is producing an average 2m cubic metres a day, of which 700,000cm/d is sold to Gujarat Gas and the rest to Essar Power.