Sonatrach and IOC submit paperwork for Libyan round

Vol 11, PW 15 (29 Nov 07) People & Policy

Indian Oil and Oil India have finally managed to sign a joint bidding agreement with Algerian state-owned Sonatrach for the ongoing licensing round in Libya.

In our last issue we reported how a joint bidding agreement between Sonatrach, Indian Oil and Oil India was imminent enabling them to bid as a consortium in the round. Libyan authorities have qualified Sonatrach as â€کoperator’, allowing it to bid.

But Indian Oil and Oil India have been qualified only as â€کinvestors’ in need of an â€کoperator’ as partner to meet the bid eligibility criteria. “The agreement was signed before November 15,â€‌ we hear.

“It was not announced because certain formalities were to be completed.â€‌ This report also learns that sometime this month a team of officials from the finance and technical departments of Indian Oil and Oil India travelled to Algeria.

“During the meeting with Sonatrach they carried out technical evaluation of the data on the blocks bought by Sonatrach,â€‌ adds a source. “They also carried out a financial assessment.

â€‌ Sonatrach, Indian Oil and Oil India, we learn, have identified one onshore gas block. “No one will give you the details of the block that has been chosen,â€‌ we learn.

“If details of this block come out then the competition will increase. More companies will bid for it.

â€‌ Fine, but expect more hurdles for Indian Oil and Oil India. “Dealing with the National Oil Company of Libya is not easy,â€‌ adds another source.

“It keeps on revising its terms for bidding every day.â€‌ Last week, for example, Sonatrach, IOC and Oil India submitted documents confirming that they would bid as a consortium but Libyan officials refused to receive the documents and asked the consortium to submit more details.

Both IOC and Oil India duly complied with the request and submitted all the required documents on November 24.