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ONGC may buy stakes in BHP’s exploration blocks in India

28th November 2013

ONGC may buy stakes in oil and gas exploration blocks relinquished by BHP Billiton in bid to retain the Australian company in India’s E&P sector

Offshore oil drilling block
ONGC may collaborate with BHP Billiton to explore nine oil blocks in India

India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) may buy stakes in nine oil exploration blocks relinquished by BHP Billiton, The Economic Times reported. The potential move is considered an attempt by the Indian government to retain the Australian multinational petroleum company in the country’s E&P sector and attract the interest of international oil companies.


"BHP Billiton is willing to continue if ONGC is willing to look into some issues. We can explore an alliance between ONGC and BHP Billiton which could address their concerns and persuade them not to exit,” the news report quoted India’s oil minister, Veerappa Moily as saying.


Sudhir Vasudeva, chairman of ONGC, added: “We can explore this possibility.BHP has nine blocks which we need to see and we could aid them in obtaining government clearances. We will sit across the table and discuss the possibilities. Transactions, if any, will be purely on commercial terms."


BHP Billiton in October surrendered its nine oil exploration blocks after failing to receive necessary clearances from the Indian government. BHP said in a statement last month: "The decision to relinquish the blocks was the result of an exploration portfolio review and the inability to carry out exploration work in these blocks."


India recently announced to auction 86 oil and gas exploration blocks in January under the tenth round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) to accelerate domestic exploration.


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