Cairn alliance with GAIL and Gujarat State Petroleum

Vol 4, PW 24 (17 Jan 01) Exploration & Production

Before long we should begin hearing that 'X' company has joined up with 'Y' as the inevitable process of firming up alliances to make joint bids under NELP-2 gets underway.

First off the block is Cairn Energy, which is planning to join hands with Gas Authority of India and Gujarat State Petroleum. We learn from Gujarat that a MoU confirming Cairn as the operating partner, with GSPC and GAIL as the non-operating partners, is expected any day now.

Although the MoU will cover all 25 blocks, the final decision on which blocks to bid for will only be taken after evaluation of data. Inclusion of Gujarat State Petroleum would almost certainly suggest the consortium intends to bid for the two gas-prone blocks in Gujarat.

Another likely bidder for these blocks is British Gas, which has midstream assets in Gujarat. Tullow Oil has indicated that it will bid for blocks under NELP-2, as has Hardy Oil.

A clearer picture will emerge when companies finish viewing data. On 18th December the DGH opened a two-room viewing facility at its Delhi office and 'visiting slots' are fully booked until end-January.

ONGC visited in the first week of January, followed by Reliance and Oil India on 15th, 16th and 17th. GAIL, GeoEnpro and Indian Oil are also booked to visit.

Cairn, Tullow and Hardy have made inquiries.