Petrom of Romania abandons Indian joint venture

Vol 4, PW 20 (08 Nov 00) Exploration & Production

It's easy to forget that Petrom of Romania has an upstream presence in India.

But it does. Or should we say - it did.

This report learns from sources in the oil ministry that the Romanian major (40%) is unwinding its position in a joint venture with Indian partners, the Mittal Group (25.5%) and the Bizworld Group (25.5%). Together with London-based Bushco Petroleum (9%), these four companies were partners in an Indian joint venture called MD Petrom.

We say 'were', because all the indications are that MD Petrom exists no more. Last month the directors of the company held a stormy board meeting in which Petrom and Bushco passed a motion to dissolve the company.

It is understood that Bizworld and the Mittals voted against the motion, with Petrom and Bushco voting for. A final board meeting is scheduled for next month.

MD Petrom only had one asset in India: a 41% farm-in as operator of the BB-OS/5 concession offshore Mumbai, controlled by Essar Oil, which holds the balance 59%. Former oil minister Vazhappady Ramamurthy officially sanctioned MD Petroms farm-in on 27th September last year.

Essar is now believed to be seeking permission to "re-assign" MD Petrom's 41% interest to Petrom - but minus its Indian partners.