ONGC bids for $1 bn Nigeria offshore field

Singapore, Nov 18 | Updated: Nov 19 2005, 06:07am hrs
Indias Oil and Natural Gas Corp is bidding for a stake in a Nigerian offshore field with an estimated value of $1 billion as it aims to boost its overseas energy reserves, three sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.

The stake in the yet to be developed Akpo oil and gas field was put up for sale earlier this year by Nigerian firm South Atlantic Petroleum Ltd, which is controlled by former Nigerian Defence Minister Theophilus Danjuma, sources have told Reuters. Thursday was the deadline for interested parties to submit their bids, sources told Reuters.

The Akpo deepwater field, operated by French oil company Total SA, needs billions of dollars in capital expenditure for development. It seems that this will be a good bid from ONGC and if it gets the property, it will be in line with its ambitious plans to add volumes to Indias quest for energy security, said Jaspreet Singh, a senior analyst with Indian brokerage firm Prabhudas Liladhar.

Shares in ONGC, Indias most valuable company with a market cap of $31.5 billion, gained as much as 1.9% after the news.

They were up 1.06% at Rs 1,019 by 0912 GMT, outperforming a 0.30% rise in the 30-share BSE index.

The bid marks another overseas push by the state-run Indian energy giant after it got beaten by Chinas state oil giants in the takeovers of the $4.2 billion Canadian company PetroKazakhstan and the $1.4 billion oil assets in Ecuador sold by North American producer EnCana.