Reliance hopes to sign for two more blocks in Yemen

Vol 10, PW 13 (19 Oct 06) People & Policy

Yemen is fast emerging as a destination of choice for Indian exploration companies looking to expand overseas.

Reliance (25%) already has equity in Block 9 alongside operator Calvalley Petroleum of Canada (50%) and local company Hood Oil (25%). Reliance now wants to increase its exposure to Yemen and is looking at two more blocks in the east of the country.

Little is known about these two blocks except that they are not included in the third licensing round underway and have already been awarded to a Middle Eastern company. Reliance is trying to farm in to two exploration blocks in the Jiza-Qamar basin on the east of the country, says a frequent traveller to the region.

They already have Block 9 in the discovered Al-Masillah basin and this must have encouraged them to begin exploring in the east of the country. Another frequent visitor to Yemen tells us Reliance wanted to sign contracts for its two new blocks last month but intervening presidential elections on 20th September pushed the signing back till November.

Reliance is happy that the same regime has been re-elected," we hear. "Hopefully there wont be any changes to the cabinet." Like Reliance, tiny Hyderabad-based explorer Alkor Petroo also wants more exposure to Yemen and is looking at an additional four exploration blocks to the one it already has.

Alkor (50%) is joint operator with Gallo Oil of Turkey (50%) at Block 13 where it is re-processing 1800-km 2D ahead of a possible exploration well or more in-fill seismic. Likewise, Gujarat State Petroleum wants to get a foothold in Yemen and is leading the consortium that includes Alkor to bid for four onland blocks out of 14 on offer in the third licensing round.

GeoGlobal Resources of Canada and Houston-based Stratum are the other two in the consortium. Under discussion is operator GSPC holding 45%, while Alkor, GGR and Stratum share 55%.

Equity has not been finalised, we hear. Nothing has yet been signed.

Consortium partners hope to agree the equity split before the bid deadline, which has been postponed till 24th November.