Wednesday, October 26, 2011

RIL To Suspend Oil And Gas Drilling - Report

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

REUTERS – Energy major Reliance Industries will suspend oil and gas drilling pending an internal valuation of its exploration and production strategy, the Mint newspaper reported on Monday citing sources briefed by the company.

The firm, India's most valuable company by market capitalization, has seen its growth outlook and market value hit hard this year by falling gas output from its huge gas fields off the east coast.

Reliance will halt drilling for an unspecified time until the review is completed and submitted to the government, three analysts present at a company meeting told the newspaper.

A Reliance spokesman declined to comment on the report when contacted by Reuters.

Controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, Reliance posted its highest ever quarterly net profit in its Q2 results on Saturday, but analysts focused on slowing gas output and said refining margins were still below expectations.

Last month, India's upstream regulator said Reliance was producing 44 mscmd (million standard cubic metres per day) from its main D6 block, lower than the 60 mscmd it was producing a year earlier and far off the planned peak capacity of 80 mscmd.

The CAG last month criticised Reliance and the government over development of the gas field in the Krishna Godavari (KG) basin and called for revamping profit-sharing arrangements from oil and gas blocks.

Earlier this year, Reliance sold a 30 percent stake in 23 oil and gas blocks, some in the KG basin, to BP in a 7.2 billion deal.

The British company, with deepwater exploration expertise, has said it is confident of raising gas output from the field from 2014.

(Additional reporting by Prashant Mehra in Mumbai; Writing by Henry Foy; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)

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