BP to invest $6 bn in developing new gas fields

Mukesh Ambani and Bob Dudley coming out after their meeting with Dharmendra Pradhan at Shastri Bhawan in New Delhi on Thursday

Currently, RIL-BP produces gas from Dhirubhai-1 and 3 field and oil and gas from MA field, three of the over one-and-half dozen discoveries made in KG-D6 block. The three projects, when developed, are expected to bring a total of 1 billion cubic feet of gas a day in new domestic gas production, and are expected to start production between 2020 and 2022.

Dudley said the two companies were "not putting boundaries" on the expansion of the partnership, which will cover all forms of fuel marketing, retail distribution, and a combination of gas and renewables.

"It gives me pleasure to announce that BP and RIL will enhance their partnership to develop new products to help India's mobility market", RIL chief Mukesh Ambani said at the press conference.

He termed the collaboration between the two companies as "new and historic cooperation" and highlighted that they will also explore trading of fuel and carbon emission trading.

"India's demand for both energy and mobility is growing and evolving rapidly", Dudley said. "Working closely together, Reliance and BP are now able to develop these major deep-water gas resources offshore in India, efficiently and economically". Its partner BP got approval previous year to set up petrol pumps in India.

The companies expect to collaborate, in addition to the conventional transportation and aviation fuels retailing, on unconventional mobility solutions, addressing electrification, digitization and disruptive mobility trends. It may be recalled that Reliance holds 60 percent in the gas block, whereas BP and Calgary-based Niko Resources Ltd hold 30 percent and 10 percent respectively.

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"We still have some pending arbitrations and we hope to follow this legal process to conclude these within the framework of the law", Ambani said, referring to the arbitrations cases on shortfall in KG-D6 targeted gas output and on alleged seepage of gas from contiguous fields of state-run ONGC.

PricewaterhouseCoopers India Oil & Gas Leader Deepak Mahurkar reckons investments like these reflect the government and private sector aligning with each other's requirements, despite no major recent change in India's oil and gas policies.

There was a media report that the two entities could buy out the 10 percent stake now held by Niko Resources in a gas field (NEC25) in Bay of Bengal.

· Gas produced over the life of these three new projects could generate up to $20 billion in import substitution (at current imported LNG prices) and employment of up to 20,000 skilled labour during the construction period over the next 5 years.

In 2011, Reliance agreed to sell a stake in 23 of its oil and gas blocks to BP for $7.2 billion.

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