ONGC-led consortium bidding for Australian field: report

A consortium of India's top state-run energy firms, led by exploration giant Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), is in talks to acquire a 25-per cent stake in Australia's Advent Energy for around $1 billion, according to a report.

ONGC, along with smaller exploration and production firm Oil India (OIL) and gas transmission company GAIL India (all state-owned), hopes to grab a share of the massive natural gas reserves of the Perth, western Australia-based unlisted Advent to help secure energy supplies for the country's rapidly expanding economy, according to The Economic Times quoting two unnamed sources.

Advent Energy has large gas reserves, including one block in the Sydney Basin that has an estimated 13.2 trillion cu ft of recoverable natural gas, which is more than what Reliance Industries has discovered in its two main D-1 and D-3 gas fields in the Krishna-Godavari basin off the Andhra coast.

''We are looking at acquiring a minority stake in E&P company Advent Energy,'' a director at one of the consortium members told the paper. A senior official at another company in the consortium said the deal could be worth more than $1 billion.

All three parties to the reported deal refused to respond to queries.

Australia has emerged as a new source of energy for India, which has traditionally relied on the Middle-East for its LNG sourcing. Petronet LNG has contracted 1.5 million tonnes of LNG a year from ExxonMobil's Gorgon project in Australia for 20 years.