India's Reliance, Partners Abandon East Coast Oil and Gas Block
MUMBAI, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Reliance Industries Ltd and its partners have relinquished an oil and gas block off India's east coast due to access restrictions and uncertainty over long-term natural gas pricing, one of the company's joint-venture partners Hardy Oil and Gas said on Wednesday.
Hardy said the decision was taken after Reliance, the operator of the block, said land restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Defence ruled out further exploration in the area and inhibited further investment.
Hardy also pointed to uncertainty over long-term natural gas pricing in India as one of the reasons for the decision as well as the government-imposed gas price being lower than expected.
Reliance has a 60 percent stake in the D-3 block in the Krishna Godavari basin off India's east coast. BP Plc has a 30 percent stake. Hardy owns the remaining 10 percent.
Reliance and BP did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.
Hardy said that the access restrictions imposed in 2012 covered more than a third of the block, affecting exploration, development and production.
The partners won the exploration licence for the D-3 block in 2005 and have spent more than $220 million so far in the exploration phase, which has produced four gas discoveries, according to the statement.
(Reporting by Aman Shah in Mumbai. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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