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ONGC reworks stake dilution in coal-bed methane fields

According to reports, oil and gas explorer ONGC has revised plans to dilute its stake in three coal-bed-methane assets.

The state-owned company will now divest 25 per cent each in its Ranigunj and North Karanpura blocks and 35 per cent in Bokaro.

In May this year, following a bidding process, ONGC had offered Dart Energy 25 per cent in Bokaro, a similar stake in North Karanpura in Jharkhand and 10 per cent in Ranigunj, West Bengal.

However, the company decided to accept only the offer for the Bokaro asset.

LSE-listed Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd (GEECL) was offered 25 per cent in Ranigunj.

The exploratory asset is located next to GEECL’s (producing) field in West Bengal. It is now the only partner for the Ranigunj block.

Ahmedabad-based Deep Industries (also a listed entity) and Jindal Petroleum were offered 10 per cent each in the North Karanpura and Bokaro blocks, respectively.

Deep Industries has now been offered 25 per cent of North Karanpura, which sources say it has accepted.

The company is currently exploring CBM fields in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh, and the Godavari Valley (North) in Andhra Pradesh.

Sources say that progress in implementing the deal has been slow.

The major issues yet to be resolved include fiscal responsibility of the strategic investors with regard to past expenses.

Also, discussions on sharing operating expenses are still at an early stage.

Sources in ONGC confirm that discussions with the prospective partners in the CBM assets continue on a range of issues.

Once the discussions are concluded, the draft pact will be submitted for approval by the ONGC board as well as the Union Government.

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