November 12, 2007 / 3:10 PM / 12 years ago

Reliance gets second Oman exploration block

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s top private firm, Reliance Industries Ltd, on Monday signed a contract for a second exploration block off the Oman coast in the Gulf, a senior company official told Reuters.

“Block 41 is adjacent to our existing block in Oman and is spread over 20,000 square kilometres,” Atul Chandra, president, international operations at Reliance, said.

He said the deepwater exploration block is 100 percent owned by Reliance subsidiary, Reliance Exploration & Production DMCC.

In 2005, the Oman government awarded Block 18 to Reliance. The block is spread over 18,000 square kilometres.

Chandra said Reliance has been actively pursuing petroleum exploration activities in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific region and South America.

Oman’s oil ministry and Gas said it had awarded another concession to the United Arab Emirates-based Rak Petroleum. Block 30, an onshore concession spread over 1,185 sq km (457.6 sq miles), lies in country’s south.

Last week Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) said it had awarded two onshore blocks to Reliance.

Chandra said the firm will soon start exploration activities on the two Kurdish blocks, Rovi and Sarta.

Asked if Reliance paid signing bonus of $15.5 million-$17.5 million, as reported in the Indian press, for acquiring exploration licence for the two Kurdish blocks, Chandra said: “We have not paid any signature bonus to KRG so far. The amount quoted in the local media is incorrect.”

Reliance established a local office in Erbil in 2006 and has undertaken extensive geological work over the past year in Kurdistan region, he said.

Reliance also owns exploration blocks in Yemen, East Timor, Australia and Colombia through its subsidiaries.

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