RIL-BP get nod for exploring fresh gas discovery: report

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and its British partner BP Plc have gained government approval to prepare a plan to develop a natural gas discovery in the Bay of Bengal, according to a Bloomberg report citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

A panel under the Directorate General for Hydrocarbons recognised the R1 deposit as being commercially viable at a meeting held two weeks ago. The discovery is part of a cluster known as the R-Series that Mukesh Ambani's RIL and BP plan to jointly develop.

RIL sold a 30-per cent stake in 21 fields to BP for $7.2 billion last year, seeking its global expertise in shoring up dwindling production from the Krishna-Godavari D6 block off the east coast which is considered India's biggest gas discovery.

RIL had sought government permission to develop new discoveries in view of the shortfall in D6.

The R1 deposit is estimated to hold about 45 billion cubic metres of gas and may be capable of producing more than 10 million cubic meters a day after 2015, the report said.

The DGH is yet to approve the viability of three other smaller discoveries in the R-Series cluster which lies within the KG-D6 block, the report said.

Reserves at the R1 deposit are equivalent to about 14 per cent of the primary D1 and D3 fields, which have about 11.2 trillion cubic feet of resources.