NTPC to bid for gas blocks Down Under
The constraints in gas procurement has forced state-run NTPC Ltd to try its luck by bidding for offshore blocks being offered by Australia.
Australia has put on offer 36 such blocks in the Commonwealth waters. It will assess all bids using a work programme bidding system and award exploration permits for an initial term of six years.
NTPC sources said the company planned to undertake an exploratory study with Michigan-based Oil Ex. The American company is involved in consulting, drilling, well management and site restoration.
The sources admitted that NTPC had no technical capability and would, therefore, rope in other entities with experience in the petroleum sector to bid jointly. They said, the company would continue to look for partners with expertise in exploration and production, and considerable of knowledge the LNG business in Australia and other countries. NTPC will also explore the possibility of tying up with an oil and gas public sector firm.
NTPC’s move comes at a time when it is exploring the option of setting up a gas-based power project in Nigeria and has signed an agreement with Sri Lanka for a coal-based project.
The company has had to face many hurdles towards buying gas for its various projects, including the ones in Kayamkulam, Kawas and Gandhar.
Besids, it is yet to reach an out-of-court settlement with Reliance Industries for supply of gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin.
According to the Australian government website, the country is under-explored, with just 8,000 wells having being drilled. Of this, 4,000 are exploratory wells.
Australia produces 9% of the world’s LNG production of 82 million tonne. Western Australia produces a quarter.