GAIL India Says Ready to Begin Drilling in Bengal Basin

Aug 30, 2005 (Dow Jones Commodities News Select via Comtex)MUMBAI

State-run GAIL India Ltd. (532155.BY) Tuesday said that it along with Russian energy firm Gazprom (GSPBEX.RS) is now ready to begin drilling the first oil well at the exploration block 26 in the Bengal basin.

GAIL said the drilling is expected to begin in the second week of October and continue until the end of November. The company said that it is finalizing another drilling rig to start work at a second well.

GAIL in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange said that the investment by the GAIL-Gazprom consortium until now is $13 million and that another $30 million of investment will be made for the first well.

GAIL said that it is involved in exploration activities over an acreage of 67,118 square kilometers and plans to invest about INR6 billion in exploration and production activity over the next three years.

GAIL said it had struck oil in the Cambay basin block along with Gujarat State Petroleum Corp. and the commercialization of the block is expected soon. Presently production is planned with estimated recoverable reserve of 3.5 million barrels for 10 years.

GAIL said it is planning to acquire a stake in the Yadavaran fields in Iran and that it is likely to get an additional stake in an oil block in Myanmar. The company also said that it is expecting to be awarded a block in Assam Arakan region in India.

(C) 2005 FWN Select. All Rights Reserved

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