Do the concessions contain any oil and gas

Vol 5, PW 1 (28 Feb 01) Exploration & Production

Gujarat will benefit most from the nine PSCs: eight of them are in the prolific Cambay Basin.

But do they still contain oil and gas, are they of any value to the new owners A senior executive at Hindustan Oil Exploration - operator of North Balol and Unawa - has his doubts. "We will have to return to the fields to see what's left in them," he said, "It's been four years since the award was made and we hear that ONGC has been producing from them." An oil ministry source confirms that ONGC, which must transfer the Mining Lease to the new operators, has been ordered to stop producing from two fields in Gujarat.

But he adds: "You can't win. If you don't sign the PSCs they criticise us, when we do sign, they still criticise us." A second ministry source stresses that all awardees were clearly asked if they still wanted the fields when negotiations resumed last year.

"They all said 'yes'," he confirms, "Even after six years, they still wanted to acquire the fields on the original terms." According to the oil ministry, the nine fields have an aggregate 67m barrels of oil in-place, and 3bn cubic metres of in-place gas. Doubts raised by the new operators suggest we should take these figures with a fistful of salt!