RIL mulling over new foreign partner for deep water exploration project

Mumbai: Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), is reportedly in talks with global oil and gas companies to divest up to a 10-per cent stake in its D6 gas block in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) for deep water exploration.

Currently, RIL has a 90-per cent stake in the block while the remaining 10 per cent is owned by the Canadian firm, Nikko Resources. The deal could be structured as an equity buy for the new partner in which case, it will own exactly the same stake as Niko with RIL holding the remaining 80 per cent.

According to industry sources, RIL is considering the divestment as part of a long-term strategy for the D6 block as the company feels it would need a partner for the level of deepwater drilling that is required at this particular block.

The KG Basin has huge reserves and RIL is believed to have reached up to 1,500-2,000 meters of drilling so far and there is scope for 7,000 to 8,000 meters, for which it would need some foreign partners with expertise in this area.  The potential reserves are likely to draw global energy giants such as Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Petrobras, Total and Chevron, industry sources added.

Global investment banking giant Goldman Sachs is one of the key consultants for the deal.