Minister: Reliance Trims East Coast Block Gas Reserve Estimates

NEW DELHI - Reliance Industries Ltd., India's largest listed company by market value, has slashed recoverable gas reserve estimates for two key producing fields in an eastern offshore block by 70%, citing production performance and a decline in pressure in the fields, the junior oil minister said Thursday.

Reliance has trimmed estimated recoverable reserves of gas from the D1 and D3 fields in its D6 block in the Krishna Godavari basin to 3.10 trillion cubic feet from 10.3 trillion cubic feet, R.P.N. Singh told lawmakers in a written reply in the lower house of Parliament.

However, it has raised its reserve estimate for the MA field in the D6 block by 16% to 788 billion cubic feet from 681.4 billion cubic feet estimated earlier, he said, without providing any reason.

Mumbai-based Reliance and its partners--U.K.-based BP PLC and Canada's Niko Resources Ltd.--are currently producing 29 million standard cubic meters a day of natural gas from the three fields against a target of 80 mmscm/d.

Falling gas output at D6, considered India's richest gas find so far, has dragged down the country's overall gas production, forcing it to import costlier liquefied natural gas.

"The operator has attributed lower gas production compared with an amended initial development plan from the D1 and D3 fields to unforeseen geological [complexity] and reservoir," Mr Singh said, without elaborating further.

Gas production from D6 fell 23.5% to 15.61 billion cubic meters in the fiscal year ended March 31 as a third of 18 wells in the D1 and D3 fields have stopped production due to water and sand deposition. A third of six producing wells in the MA field have also stopped output, Mr. Singh said.

Reliance holds a 60% stake in the block, BP owns 30% and Niko 10%.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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