Gujarat Energy Minister: Decision on GSPC Partner in 3-4 Months

NEW DELHI Sep 14, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Gujarat State Petroleum Corp., or GSPC, will take a final decision on a partner for its natural gas field off India's eastern coast within the next four months, Saurabh Dalal, minister for energy for the western Gujarat state, said Thursday.

"It will take at least three to four months. GSPC is an independent company, but it will come to us for the final decision," Dalal told Dow Jones Newswires.

GSPC is looking for a partner which will buy up to 30% stake in its gas discovery in India's Krishna-Godavari basin.

GSPC is a wholly-owned enterprise of the Gujarat state government. The company is involved in domestic oil and gas exploration ventures.

A GSPC executive said four companies have been shortlisted to partner the company in developing the gas find.

"The companies we have shortlisted are BP PLC (BP), BG Group PLC (BRG), Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Italy's Eni SpA (E)," said the executive.

As many as 11 companies had initially shown interest in buying a stake in the GSPC gas discovery.

"We lack technical expertise. More than the financial strength of the partner, we are looking at a company which can bring in technological expertise," said the executive.

GSPC struck gas in the Krishna-Godavari basin in June 2005, where it estimates reserves to be around 20 trillion cubic feet.

Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.