Oil India looks for overseas acquisitions

Sate-owned oil company Oil India Ltd is planning to acquire small stakes in overseas oil and gas assets from companies like Chesapeake Energy, ConocoPhillips and Maurel et Prom, the company's finance director T K Ananth Kumar today said.

The Duliajan, Assam-based oil explorer is planning to buy a stake in Chesapeake Energy's Mississippi Lime Formation in Oklahoma, in ConocoPhillips' oil sand assets in Canada, and France's Maurel et Prom assets in Gabon, Kumar told reporters.

Oil India, which is keen on entering the gas business, had in 2010 earmarked a budget of Rs1 billion for potential shale asset acquisitions.

It was reported to have hired seven investment banks including Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank to identify and advise on potential shale gas assets that could be acquired in the US and Australia.

Kumar said that the company was willing to spend $100 million-$200 million on unconventional assets and upto $1.5 billion on conventional.

But being a government-owned company, Oil India could take ages to finalise a deal in the backdrop of a flurry of acquisitions in the US shale gas acreages due to falling gas prices