ONGC bids for Exxon Mobil's stake in Block 31 in Angola

ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas investment arm of state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has submitted a binding bid for US energy major ExxonMobil's 25 per cent stake in a deepwater oil block in Angola.

"OVL has submitted a binding bid for an offer made by ExxonMobil to participate in the sale process of its 25-per cent stake in Block 31 in Angola," Jitin Prasada, minister of state for Petroleum and Natural Gas told the Lok Sabha yesterday.

The Angolan field stake buy would be a welcome acquisition for India, which has been lagging China in the hunt for natural resources as both countries seek to feed their fast economic growth.

British oil giant, BP Plc is the operator of the Block 31 field holding 26.67 per cent stake, ExxonMobil 25 per cent, Angola's state-run Sociedade Nacional de Combustiveis de Angola (Sonangol) holds 20 per cent, Norway's StatoilHydro 13.33 per cent, while Marathon Oil Corp and France's Total hold 10 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.

Angolan Oil Minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos in November 2010 had said at an energy conference in the Indian capital that Exxon Mobil and Total want to exit from the block.

"In Block 31, some of the companies are leaving the block. Our state oil company Sonangol has the responsibility to find other partners," the minister said, without commenting on the reason for the planned stake sale by Exxon and Total and the likely deal size.