ONGC Mittal Energy bags Nigerian oil block

Mumbai: ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd, the joint venture company floated by Oil and Natutal Gas Corporation of India and Mittal Steel, has bagged exploration rights for a prospective oil block in Nigeria. The joint venture bid $100 million for OPL-246 after Nigeria revoked the licence of South Atlantic Petroleum (Sapetro) for the block, sources said.

ONGC Mittal outbid INC Natural Resources and BG-Sahara for the block after Sapetro lost a legal challenge against a government decision to revoke the licence. ONGC-Mittal has to pay 25 per cent of the $100 million signature bonus committed for OPL 246 this week, failing which it would lose the block to INC, which is the reserved bidder.

OPL 246 is the relinquished area of the billion-barrel Akpo oilfield of Sapetro, which is part-owned by Theophilus Danjuma, former defence minister of Nigeria.

ONGC had lost out in acquiring Sapetro's 45 per cent stake in Akpo to China's CNOOC after the Indian government disallowed it from proceeding on the transaction where it was the highest bidder.