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GAIL looking at E&P blocks in Africa

Richa Mishra

In talks with TGS-NOPEC, promoter of Madagascar bidding round


Deal-making
During the recently held domestic E&P rounds, which witnessed a new trend of multiple tie-ups among the bidders, GAIL had tied up with as many as 16 domestic and foreign firms.

New Delhi , Sept. 29

Pursuing its hunt for oil and gas blocks overseas, GAIL (India) Ltd is talks with TGS-NOPEC, the authorised promoter of the Madagascar (Africa) bidding round, on the technical prospects of the blocks. The company plans to adopt a consortium approach for bidding in Madagascar, a senior GAIL official said.

While declining to disclose the name of possible partners, he told Business Line that the company was in discussions with a couple of companies for possible joint participation in the bidding round. Under the Madagascar bidding round, 122 offshore blocks are on offer covering 200,000 sq.km. (water depth 1,500 to 2,000 meters).

An announcement for the blocks was made by the Office des Mines Nationales et des Industries Strategiques in Madagascar (OMNIS) on the opening of a new Licence Round over the Morondava Basin, offshore West Madagascar in October 2005. OMNIS has scheduled the closing date for applications as November 15. It is expected that licences will be granted soon thereafter, the official said.

Rs 800-cr investment

GAIL plans to invest approximately Rs 800 crore in exploration and production (E&P) activities over the next three years. Currently, the company is involved in exploration activities over acreage of more than 91,000 sq.km. During the recently held domestic E&P rounds, which witnessed a new trend of multiple tie-ups among the bidders, GAIL had tied up with as many as 16 domestic and foreign firms.

Recently, a consortium including GAIL and Hindustan Petroleum Corp was awarded one onshore block in Oman. GAIL is also reported to be in talks with TurkMenGaz for participation in E&P, pipeline and city gas distribution projects in Turkmenistan.

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