ONGC eyes Exxon Mobil’s stake in overseas oil block

ONGC eyes Exxon Mobil’s stake in overseas oil block

The oil major is eyeing Exxon Mobil's 25 per cent stake in a deep-sea block in Angola.

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is eyeing the US energy major Exxon Mobil’s 25 per cent stake in a deep-sea block in Angola.

“We have been making efforts to acquire interest in upstream opportunities in Angola since 2002. We keep receiving proposals and we are examining one such opportunity,” said R S Butola,Managing Director of ONGC Videsh,the overseas investment arm of ONGC.

Visiting Angolan Oil Minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos said certain companies are looking at exiting Block 31 and they may be Exxon Mobil and Total of France.

Industry sources,however,said Total,whose subsidiary TEPA (Block 31) Ltd has 5 per cent interest may not looking at selling its stake and only Exxon is on the block.


Butola said OVL,which had in 2003 unsuccessfully bid for 45 per cent stake in the giant Akpo oilfield in Angola,will “certainly be interest” in opportunities such as Exxon’s stake in Block 31. “But frankly speaking,it is too early to say if bidding will happen.”

Sources said Exxon may be looking at receiving offers sometime in third or fourth week of November.

Angolan Minister said his country would favour a joint approach by Indian national oil company with the African nation’s state-owned firm Sonangol.

“Situation is improving little bit in terms of our cooperation. We need to put together our national oil company and your (India’s) national oil company to achieve the good result,” he said.

British energy major BP Plc is the operator of ultra deep-sea Block 31 where 19 oil discoveries have been made.

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).

Butola declined to comment on the valuation of the deal.

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.