OVL qualifies for Iraq’s oil exploration bidding

Bidders must accept service contracts that pay them a flat fee for each barrel extracted, rather than production-sharing agreements in which they gain a stake in the crude produced. A service contract means that they do not benefit from a rise in oil prices

New Delhi: ONGC Videsh (OVL), the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), is among 41 international oil majors who have qualified for Iraq's fourth bidding round for exploration blocks, reports PTI.

Besides OVL, others who have qualified to bid for the 12 exploration blocks due to be awarded in January next year are ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, BP, Chevron and a host of multinational oil companies.

Industry sources said 50 companies had submitted qualification documents for consideration by a 6th June deadline. Of these 41 qualified.

The Iraqi oil ministry is planning to hold a roadshow at the end of September with contracts due to be awarded on 25th or 26th January.

Sources said OVL had bid for the giant Halfaya oilfield along with state-run Oil India and Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) in Iraq's second post-war bid round in December 2009.

It lost the bid for the third largest field on offer in that round to a consortium led by a Chinese firm.

A group led by China National Petroleum Corporation bid lower than the $1.76 per barrel fee OVL and partners sought for boosting output from Halfaya field to 550,000 barrels per day.

CNPC, Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and Total SA offered to boost production to 535,000 bpd from current 3,000 bpd at a cost of $1.40 a barrel. The Halfaya oilfield has estimated reserves of 4.1 billion barrels of oil.

OVL had, in the first round in June that year, lost the Zubair oilfield when it along with OAO Gazprom of Russia and TPAO had asked for a remuneration that was about five times higher than $1.90-$2 a barrel that Baghdad was willing to pay.

The Indian firm had also qualified for the third round last year but failed to make the mark.

In the fourth round, Iraq is offering seven gas fields and five oilfields.

Iraq, holder of the world's third-largest oil reserves, is seeking foreign investments to boost output after six years of conflict destroyed its infrastructure.

Bidders must accept service contracts that pay them a flat fee for each barrel extracted, rather than production-sharing agreements in which they gain a stake in the crude produced. A service contract means that they do not benefit from a rise in oil prices.

Sources said the formula for the two bidding parameters-the dollar-per-barrel remuneration fee and plateau production target-has been weighted 80% toward the fee, with the aim of dissuading companies from promising unrealistically high output targets.

Companies qualifying for the Iraq's fourth bid round were dominated by Japanese firms which included Inpex Corp, JX Nippon, Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsui and Sumitomo.

Russia's Bashneft, Gazprom, Lukoil, Rosneft and TNK-BP too qualified along with US' ExxonMobil, Chevron, Hess Corp and Occidental. Three Chinese firms-Cnooc, CNPC and PetroChina also figure in the list of 41.

Also among those qualified were Edison and Eni of Italy, BP and Premier Oil of the UK, Anglo-Dutch Shell, Norway's Statoil and France's Total.

The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, Kuwait Energy, the UAE's Mubadala, Angola's Sonangol and Turkey's TPAO are also among bidders.

The qualifiers also include Korean Kogas, Pakistan Petroleum, Petro Vietnam E&P, Petronas of Malaysia, Pertamina of Indonesia and Thailand's PTTEP International Holding Company.

Iraq has signed 12 oil field development contracts with international companies including ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Eni, Lukoil and the Chinese National Petroleum Corp since late 2009, and plans to increase oil production capacity from 2.7 million barrels per day now to more than 13 million bpd in seven years.

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L&T bags $185 million contract for UAE gas pipeline project

Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (GASCO) has awarded a lump-sum turnkey contract worth an estimated $185 million for engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning works on a new gas pipeline to the company

Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (GASCO) has awarded a lump-sum turnkey contract worth an estimated $185 million for engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning works on a new gas pipeline to Larsen & Toubro (L&T), according to an announcement.

The new gas pipeline in the UAE is intended to supply natural gas to the Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company's new refinery expansion project and to the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), a statement released by the UAE's official news agency, Wam, said.

The project is said to be worth $185 million (695 million dirham).

L&T will undertake home office (design and procurement) activities from its office near New Delhi and the team will later move to the site for managing the construction activities, the statement said.

These EPC works will deploy a significant quantity of construction equipment and labour personnel, technicians and supervisors at the site, while adhering to health, safety and environment (HSE) requirements.

L&T closed at Rs 1,610.55 per share (1.18% down from its previous close of Rs1,629.85), while the benchmark BSE Sensex ended 132.27 points down at 16,857.91 from its previous close of 16,990.18.

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JSW Steel production up 15% to 5.99 lakh tonnes in July

The company had to cut production by 35% due to the ban imposed by the Supreme Court on 29th July on iron ore mining in Karnataka’s Bellary district

JSW Steel today reported a 15% increase in crude steel production to 5.99 lakh tonnes (LT) in July this year from 5.20 lakh tonnes in the corresponding year-ago period.

"The production in July 2011, would have been higher had the suspension and transportation of mining of iron ore not been there," the company said in a statement, adding that during the month, JSW had to cut production by 35% due to the ban imposed by the Supreme Court on 29th July on iron ore mining in Karnataka's Bellary district.

The statement further said that after last week's order of the Supreme Court on the issue, which permitted only state-run NMDC to produce up to one million tonnes (MT) per month (or 12 MT annually) from Bellary, the company has restored production to 80% of installed capacity.

In addition, the company completed installation of the fourth blast furnace and sinter plant at its Vijayanagar plant on 20th July as part of a 3.2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) expansion project and the units are undergoing trial runs, the statement said. Post-commissioning, the Vijayanagar plant now has a total steel production capacity of 10 MTPA.

JSW Steel closed at Rs 654.05 per share (3.22% down from its previous close of Rs 675.80), while the benchmark BSE Sensex ended 132.27 points down at 16,857.91 from its previous close of 16,990.18.

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