CCEA to Consider OVL's Proposal to Acquire Stake in Block 18

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is likely to consider on Thursday a proposal of ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of ONGC, to acquire a portion of Shell's 50 percent stake in an oil field offshore Angola.

"The CCEA will consider OVL buying half of Shell Development Angola's (a subsidiary of Royal Dutch/Shell) stake in the British oil major BP-operated 200,000 barrels per day Greater Plutonio project (also known as Block 18) off Angola," official sources said.

Both Shell and BP holds 50 percent stake each in the block which plays host to six fields - Plutonio, Cobalto, Paladio, Cromio, Galio and Platina. Block 18 is estimated to hold between 750 million and 1 billion barrels of oil.

In addition, two recent exploration wells - Cesio and Chumbo - are estimated to hold 60 million barrels of oil.

Sources said Shell has opened data rooms in Houston and Rijswijk in the Netherlands for companies interested in picking up its stake in Angola. Besides OVL, Petronas of Malaysia too is reported to be interested in the oil field.

Shell, which holds 15 percent stake in deepwater block 34 and 10 percent in block 21, has called for bids by January 16, 2004 from interested companies.

. First oil from Block 18 is targeted for 2007.