ONGC May Make BG a Partner

ONGC may make British Gas a technical partner for operating Panna-Mukta and Tapti fields - despite rejecting the company's claim as operator of the field when BG purchases Enron's equity.

An anonymous sources reports that ONGC would gladly accept technical help from BG, but would not relinquish operatorship 'at any cost.' ONGC is now contemplating calling a meeting of all the partners - not including BG - in Panna-Mukta and Tapti fields, to restate its position as chief equity holder (40 percent) and operator. Reliance Industries, having 30 percent stake in the field, is backing ONGC's claim.

ONGC asserts that the operator of the field should be decided by a decision from the JV managing committee and should not pass by default to BG.

Asked why BG would not be invited at the managing committee meeting, sources said "the British company has claimed to have struck a new deal with Enron. We haven't heard officially on that and till the time the share transfer takes place, BG is not our partner in Panna-Mukta and Tapti fields."

The revised agreement has to be reviewed by Enron's Creditors' Committee and is subject to a number of conditions including the approval of the bankruptcy court. "Enron is expected to file a motion with the court shortly seeking such approval. We don't know if the transaction will go through," sources added. BG, had on January 23, announced a revised agreement to purchase the entire share capital of EOGIL in Tapti gas field and Panna-Mukta oil and gas field for $350 million. The new price offer was 10 percent lower than the previous offer of $388 million, which expired in December following Enron's Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection Filling in US.