ONGC Not In Management Talks with BG

ONGC said on Monday it was not in talks with BG Group or any other firm to help it operate three oil and gas fields in which Enron is selling its 30 percent stake. BG Group said on January 23 it would pay Enron - which has been operating the Panna Mukta and Tapti fields off western India through a local subsidiary - a knock-down $350 million for its 30-percent stake in the fields. ONGC has a 40-percent stake in the fields while Reliance Industries Ltd holds the remaining 30 percent.

"We would like to state that there is no question of ONGC waiting for any proposal from British Gas or anyone else on ownership or operatorship of these fields," according to a statement by ONGC.

Last October, BG agreed to pay Enron $388 million but its offer was subject to the condition that it will be allowed to operate the field. Enron's collapse in December triggered a price reduction for the deal with BG and the condition for operating the fields was withdrawn. "Earlier, British Gas, on their own initiative, had made and also withdrawn, several proposals to ONGC. At this point of time, there is no negotiation between ONGC and British Gas related to these fields or any other issue." ONGC says it can operate the fields itself.

"There is no question of ONGC looking for any technical partner for operating these oil and gas fields. ONGC is confident of its own capability in this area," the statement said.