Norwegian company Norsk Hydro was in talks with ONGC Ltd to pick up a share in the latter’s exploration block in the Krishna-Godavari basin, said NK Mitra, director (offshore), ONGC.
ONGC has just signed a major exploration deal with Brazilian company Petrobras, which also has a small stake in the block in which Norsk Hydro is interested. ONGC is keen to get the best technology in place for its exploration in India.
Mitra, who is in Mumbai to for a meeting of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, told Hindustan Times: “The shareholding is yet to be decided. Meetings are being held with Norsk Hydro throughout the day today. Something is likely to be decided in a day or two.”
Petrobras has tied up with ONGC to take a 15 per cent stake in a block in the Mahanadi basin and also a smaller stake in a block in the Krishna-Godavari basin. Norsk Hydro was looking at a stake in this block, Mitra said.
Mitra also said the company was about to tender for building one shallow water rig and three deep water rigs. The company is also launching a re-development programme for its marginal and old fields.
ONGC and Norsk Hydro had signed a pact in 2005 to collaborate in exploration in third countries. The two companies jointly hold oil exploration blocks in Cuba. The pact also foresaw joint bids by the two companies for oil blocks in other countries. The partners are now extending their pact to India for the first time.
Last year Norsk Hydro had also offered a stake in an Iranian oilfield to ONGC.
The Director General of Hydrocarbons had taken the ONGC management to task for not focussing on its primary job of finding oil. This was when Subir Raha was heading ONGC.
Since the end of Raha’s tenure, the focus in ONGC has been to find new oil sources and on exploration. ONGC is asking Norsk Hydro to join hands with it for exploration in the eastern coast of India, especially after the spectacular performance of Reliance’s Krishna-Godavari basin.