Official: Australia's Santos Looking to Exit India Oil & Gas Blocks


NEW DELHI, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Santos Ltd, Australia's No. 2 energy company, wants to pull out of two Indian oil and gas blocks because of problems related to a maritime border dispute with Bangladesh, Indian government officials said on Wednesday.

"They had met us two months back and said they would like to exit because there was some problem with the Bangladesh water dispute," oil secretary Vivek Rae told reporters.

Santos was awarded two offshore oil and gas blocks, off India's east coast, in 2007.

In October, Anglo-Australian resources company BHP Billiton said it will relinquish interest in nine oil and gas exploration blocks in India, following delays in permits to conduct exploration activities.

The oil ministry is trying to see if BHP's concerns can be addressed in some other fashion, joint secretary Aramane Giridhar told reporters. He added that state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp is looking to buy stakes in the BHP blocks and talks are at a preliminary stage.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)


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