Essar may acquire 20 per cent stake in Libyan oilfield

Mumbai: The Essar Group is in talks with Phoenix Libya for acquiring a 20 per cent stake in an oil and gas field in Libya, SR Agrawal, exploration head of the company said.

"We are talking to Phoenix Libya (a subsidiary of Phoenix AG) for a minimum of 20 per cent stake with rights to increase it to 50 per cent," he said, adding that the deal for taking stake in proven oil and gas blocks of NC 100 and NC 101 in Libya is expected to be completed by the year-end.

Essar has already taken stakes in three oil and gas exploration blocks in Madagascar and two in Myanmar. It is now scouting for upstream opportunities in 12 countries in the Middle East, Central Asia, South East Asia and Africa.

With plans to produce 150,000 barrels of oil a day from its domestic and overseas fields in the next three years, Essar proposes to bid for oil and gas blocks in Iran, Papua New Guinea and Libya to expand its overseas portfolio, he said.

"We are looking for a presence in Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and the Philippines," he said. Iran, he said, has put 17 blocks for bidding and Essar would submit a bid for at least a couple of them by the due date in June.

Essar subsidiary Essar Oilfields Services Ltd already owns one semi-submersible and eight land rigs. It now wants to buy another 10 to 15 land drilling rigs, each priced at about $14 million. It is believed to have contracted to buy two Friede and Goldman jack-up rigs from ABG Shipyard.