ONGC bids for stake in US energy major Exxon Mobil oil block

"OVL has submitted a binding bid for an offer made by Exxon Mobil to participate in the sale process of its 25 per cent stake in Block 31 in Angola," Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Jitin Prasada told Lok Sabha today.

British energy firm BP Plc is the operator of the ultradeep sea block with 26.7 per cent stake.

"In case the bid submitted by OVL is successful, it would entitle OVL to a share of production, as per its stake, from the production of oil expected to commence during 2012," he said without giving details of the bid.

Block 31 is expected to produce 1,50,000 barrels of crude oil per day (7.5 million tons a year).

In all 19 oil discoveries have so far been made in the block.

French oil major Total SA's subsidiary TEPA hold 5 per cent interest in the block.
OVL had in 2004-05 lost out on acquiring 45 per cent stake in the giant Akpo oilfield in Angola.

The government had rejected OVL proposal due to Akpo's ownership issues.

After Indian government disallowed OVL to pursue the Akpo opportunity, China's CNOOC Ltd acquired the 45 per cent stake for USD 2.268 billion.

Sonangol is the concessionaire of Block 31.

BP Exploration (Angola) Ltd as operator holds 26.67 per cent.

The other interest owners in Block 31 are Sonangol P&P (20 per cent), Statoil Angola A.S. (a subsidiary of StatoilHydro ASA)(13.33 per cent), Marathon International Petroleum Angola Block 31 Ltd (10 per cent) and TEPA (BLOCK 31) Limited, (a subsidiary of the Total Group) (5 per cent).

Prasada neither provided valuation of the deal nor the timeframe within which Exxon Mobil will decide on OVL's bid.

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