Essar Steel, Adani, GAIL, HPCL buy bulk of Reliance gas

Sources said Reliance had set a floor or minimum quote of 8.4 per cent of dated Brent price.

Essar Steel, Adani Group and state-owned GAIL have bought majority of natural gas from Reliance Industries' newer fields in the KG-D6 block at an indicative price of USD 5.04 - 5.16 per unit, industry sources said.

Essar Steel picked up 2.25 million standard cubic meters per day or about half of the available volumes in the day long auction conducted on November 15.

Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC) picked up 1.2 mmscmd while Adani Group, Mahanagar Gas Ltd and GAIL bought 0.3 mmscmd each, sources said.

Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) bought 0.35 mmscmd and the remaining 0.10 mmscmd went to GSFC/GNFC.

Reliance and its partner BP Plc of the UK had sought bids from potential users for the 5 mmsmcd of natural gas they plan to produce from the R-Cluster Field in KG-D6 block from mid-2020.

Bidders were asked to quote a price (expressed as a percentage of the dated Brent crude oil rate), supply period and the volume of gas required. Dated Brent means the average of published Brent prices for three calendar months immediately preceding the relevant contract month in which gas supplies are made.

Sources said Reliance had set a floor or minimum quote of 8.4 per cent of dated Brent price -- which meant that bidders had to quote 8.4 per cent or a higher percentage for seeking gas supplies.

In the November 15 auction, bidders quoted between 8.4 and 8.6 per cent slope to corner all of the 5 mmscmd supplies available. This translates into a price of between USD 5.04 per million British termal unit and USD 5.16 per mmBtu rate at Brent oil price of USD 60 per barrel.

Sources said while bankruptcy-hit Essar bought gas to feed its steel plants, other buyers including Adani Group picked up the volumes for their city gas operations of retailing CNG to automobiles and piped cooking gas to households.

The volumes are mostly planned for usage in western India particularly in Gujarat where the gas can be delivered through a single pipeline - East-West pipeline. The delivered price in Gujarat is likely to be around USD 6.50 per mmBtu, they said.

Initially, Reliance had set a floor of 9 per cent of dated Brent price, which translated into a gas price of USD 5.4 per mmBtu at USD 60 oil price. But consumers saw this as a very high price considering that imported LNG in the spot market is available at around USD 4 per mmBtu rate currently.

To pacify the consumers, Reliance lowered the floor/minimum quote to 8.4 per cent of dated Brent price.

The company did not immediately respond to an email sent for comments.

According to the bid document, the gas price will be subject to the ceiling price mandated by the government. The ceiling price for gas from difficult fields such as those in deep-sea currently is USD 8.43 per mmBtu.

The government-mandated rate for other fields currently is $3.23 per mmBtu.

Reliance and BP are developing three sets of discoveries in KG-D6 block -- R-Cluster, Satellites, and MJ by 2022.

R-Cluster will have a peak output of 12 mmscmd while Satellites, which are supposed to begin output from mid-2021, would produce a maximum of 7 mmscmd. MJ field will start production in second half of 2022 and will have a peak output of 12 mmscmd.

Reliance has so far made 19 gas discoveries in the KG-D6 block. Of these, D-1 and D-3 -- the largest among the lot -- were brought into production from April 2009 and MA, the only oilfield in the block was put to production from April 2009 and MA, the only oilfield in the block was put to production in September 2008.

While the MA field stopped producing last year, the output from D-1 and D-3 has fallen sharply from 54 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) in March 2010 to 1.68 mmscmd in the July-September.

Other discoveries have either been surrendered or taken away by the government for not meeting timelines for beginning production.

Reliance is the operator of the block with 66.6 per cent interest while BP holds the remaining stake in the block.

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