Farming out CBM blocks: Will ONGC be third time lucky?
The company, which had, twice in the past, sold stakes in four of its CBM assets, has decided to farm-in experienced partners once again for these blocks. It has prolific CBM blocks in Jharia, Bokaro, North Karanpura located in Jharkhand and one in Raniganj, West Bengal.
“ONGC has taken concrete steps to discover Coal Bed Methane (CBM) in the country and currently operating in four CBM Blocks. In view of the mammoth and time bound task, ONGC has decided to farm-in experienced partners to execute the operations, process for which is in advanced stage and it would not be prudent to divulge more details at this stage,” ONGC said in an emailed response.
In 2012 after ONGC first farmed out stakes between 10 and 25% in these blocks, it was forced by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to cancel the bids and go for international bidding. Later that year, ONGC went in for a re-bid and in 2013 allotted stakes in the blocks.
But in 2014, Brisbane-listed Dart Energy which had been awarded between 10-25% stake in four of ONGC’s blocks decided to surrender the stake. Owing to the tough conditions of doing business in India, Dart said it had decided to exit the country, giving away its interests in the blocks