BP, Reliance Close In On India Gas Field Near Missile Test Site

BP, Reliance Close In On India Gas Field Near Missile Test Site

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. and its partner BP Plc are reviving investment plans for a gas block close to a military missile launching facility in the Bay of Bengal.

Reliance and its British partner are preparing a new development plan for the gas-rich NEC-OSN-97/2 block, also called NEC-25, in the Mahanadi basin offshore eastern India, according to Atanu Chakraborty, head of India’s oil regulator Directorate General of Hydrocarbons. Work in the block was hindered partly by objections from the defense ministry for its proximity to the Chandipur missile test base.

“They are already in discussion with us on the technical aspects of their field development plan,” Chakraborty said in an interview in London. “Reservoirs are being assessed, so that they make the final decision.”

The new proposal follows an earlier integrated field development plan submitted in March 2013. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has announced a slew of reforms, including the freedom to price and market natural gas, to push production from stalled projects as it aims to increase the fuel’s share in India’s energy mix to 15 percent by 2020 from 6.5 percent. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan expects investments of $20 billion by as early as 2021 to raise India’s gas output.

Reliance and BP recently resuscitated their partnership by announcing fresh investments of $6 billion in gas projects in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, which lies south of NEC-25. Indian’s biggest explorer Oil & Natural Gas Corp. also plans to spend $10 billion in deepwater projects off eastern India. Read more

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