Home Economy ONGC in talks with global majors for oil asset deals

ONGC in talks with global majors for oil asset deals


New Delhi : State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) Monday said it was in talks with global majors to swap hydrocarbon assets in other countries even as it announced an 8.4 percent growth in profits for the fiscal 2006-07.

"ONGC is talking to Chevron, Total and Shell for equity swap with their blocks," D.K. Pande, the company's director for exploration, told reporters at a press conference here.

He said the company planned to increase production to 140 million tonnes of oil in the 11th Five-Year Plan that runs from 2007-08 to 2012-13. "Despite all the natural declines, we will increase our production from 130 million tonnes."

ONGC, which has presence in 15 countries with 26 projects, said its net income rose to Rs.156.43 billion ($3.8 billion) in the year ended March 31, from Rs.144.3 billion a year ago and announced a final dividend of Rs.13 a share.

The fourth-quarter profits, however, fell 13 percent to Rs.26.82 billion ($657 million) since the company had to increase payments to state-run refiners towards the cost of subsidising fuel prices.

Ranked 402nd in the Fortune Global list, ONGC said it had no plans to set up a refinery in Rajasthan and that the only decision pending was on a pipeline to transport the crude discovered by Cairn India.

"The economics to set up the proposed refinery was turning out to be worse. So now the administrative ministry says only a pipeline will come up and decision would be taken on June 27," said chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma.

"It will be decided whether the pipeline will be laid by ONGC and Cairn or by a special purpose vehicle (holding company) or a third party."

Speaking about the company's audited financial results for fiscal 2006-07, Sharma said, "ONGC's growth-oriented business plans are well on track to achieve the high targets set to fulfil the aspirations of all the stakeholders."

The board has also approved investments to add value in offshore business like development of eight marginal fields in Arabian Sea and 12 offshore support vessels (OSVs) to replace 12 existing ones.

The exploratory efforts of the company, Sharma said, led to 22 discoveries, out of which nine were new prospects in deep waters, shallow water, and onshore, while the remaining 13 were new pools.

ONGC is also pursuing clean coal opportunities through coal bed methane, underground coal gasification and has been associated with the National Gas Hydrate Programme of the petroleum ministry.

The company is setting up an energy centre in the national capital for holistic research in new energy sources that can be brought to market, besides pursuing renewable sources like wind power with farms in Gujarat and Karnataka.