Three of the world's biggest energy companies, BP, Chevron
and ExxonMobil are competing for a stake in a giant
natural gas field discovered by Reliance Industries
in the deep waters of the Bay of Bengal.
The three energy giants are in talks with Reliance Industries,
India's largest private sector exploration company,
for an interest in a field in the Krishna Godavari basin.
Lord Browne, BP's chief executive, held talks with Mukesh
Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, during a visit
to India last week to sign an agreement to help Hindustan
Petroleum build a US$3bn refinery in Punjab. The meeting
was followed by further talks between executives of
the two companies.
The Reliance field, within easy reach of one of the
world's fastest growing energy consumers, was 2002's
largest gas discovery. UK energy consultants Wood Mackenzie
values the field at US$4bn taking into account only
the proved and probable reserve estimates of 6 trillion
cubic feet a conservative valuation since the field
holds possible reserves of 14 trillion cubic feet.
Reliance has a foreign partner in the field Niko Resources
of Canada, which holds a 10 per cent stake.