labels: british gas, ongc
ONGC, British Gas may strike deal news
Alok Agarwal
30 October 2001
Mumbai: The operatorship issue of the Tapti, Panna and Mukta oilfields is likely to get sorted out soon. Reports indicate that one of the three stakeholders, ONGC, is likely to give up its rights to the other partner, British Gas, if offered better terms, which are in the process of negotiation.

Sources confirmed that the two parties are very close to striking a deal. Domain.B had earlier reported that British Gas had picked up Enrons 30 per cent stake in the Tapti, Panna, Mukta oilfields early this month for a consideration of $388 million, with a rider that the deal would go through only if it is assigned the operatorship right of the fields. ONGC is the largest stakeholder in the fields, with a share of 40 per cent. Reliance is the third stakeholder with a share of 30 per cent.

Earlier British Gas had offered its equity to ONGC in its oilfields located in Brazil, if ONGC gave up its operatorship rights in the Tapti, Panna and Mukta fields to British Gas. But ONGC is said to have declined the offer on the grounds that the fields in Brazil are yet to be developed and the prospects there are not very good.

The condition of the fields in Brazil, ONGC sources said, is not even a fraction of the condition of the Tapti, Panna and Mukta fields, which had averaged a production of 70 million standard cubic feet of gas per day and 8,200 barrels of oil every day in the financial year ended 31 March 2001.

In the meantime, in its pursuance to cut costs, ONGC is planning to introduce yet another voluntary retirement scheme, hoping to cut its workforce by another 5,000 employees. The company, the largest employer among the domestic petroleum sector, currently has about 40,000 employees on its rolls and it is felt that ideally 30,000 to 35,000 would suffice for its operations.

The company is also said to be in the process of making itself completely IT-enabled. The thinking in the company seems to be that of readying itself for meeting the challenges of a deregulated petroleum sector. ONGC is likely to decide on the quantum of investment in making itself completely IT-enabled in the next few days.

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ONGC, British Gas may strike deal