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Media articles on Reliance Industries in Timor-Leste

2006-present, in chronological order

Link to La'o Hamutuk topic page on Reliance's project in Block K, TLEA


Reliance inks oil block deal with Timor-Leste

Business Standard (India) Web Bureau / Mumbai November 17, 2006

Reliance Industries has signed a production sharing contract (PSC) with the Timor-Leste government for the offshore contract area K in the country's capital Dili.

According to an official release issued by the company to the BSE today, Atul Chandra, president (international operations) of RIL, signed the contract with the Timor Leste minister of natural resources, minerals & energy policy Jose A Fernandes Teixeira, on November 16, 2006.

In January 2006, the government of Timor Leste had invited bids for 11 offshore exploration blocks in shallow to ultra deep waters. The country announced the awards on May 23, 2006. Of the 11 blocks offered under the licensing round, six blocks have been awarded, of which the company has won 1 block. The area of the awarded block K is 2,384 sq. km.

The company will have majority interest and operator-ship in the block, the release said.

The acreage offered lies in the proven petroleum province of Australian North West Shelf and is adjacent to the Timor Sea, which is a joint petroleum development area between Timor Leste and Australia. This region contains world class discoveries like Bayu - Undan (commenced production in 2004) and Greater Sunrise, the release added.

Reliance, Videocon sign separate pacts in Timor

Hindu Business Line, Our Bureau, 18 November 2006

Mumbai, Nov. 17 -- Reliance Industries Ltd and Videocon Industries have signed separate production sharing contracts (PSCs) in the Democratic Republic of Timor.

Videocon's global subsidiary concluded a PSC with Timor Sea Designated Authority for the JPDA block [06-103] within the Bonaparte Basin. Videocon signed the pact along with its equal joint venture partners, Oilex of Australia, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd and BPCL.

The consortium has agreed to complete a guaranteed work programme of acquiring 1,006 line km of 2D seismic and 1,020 sq km of 3D seismic and drill four wells in the first phase of three years. The risked reserves in the block are estimated at 47 million barrels of oil/ oil equivalent.

RIL's pact

Reliance signed a separate PSC for the offshore contract area K in Dili, capital of Timor Leste. The area of the awarded block spreads over 2,384 sq km. The company has E&P blocks in Yemen, Oman and Colombia.

It was in January 2006 that the Government of Timor Leste invited bids for 11 offshore exploration blocks in shallow to ultra deep waters in that country. The acreage offered lies in petroleum province of Australian North West Shelf and is adjacent to the Timor Sea, which is a joint petroleum development area between Timor Leste and Australia. The region contains major discoveries like Bayu-Undan and Greater Sunrise.

The Government of Timor Leste announced the awards in May this year. Of the 11 blocks under the licensing round, six have been awarded, including the one awarded to Reliance.

Reliance Industries Limited hives off overseas oil projects

IRIS News Digest, 10 March 2007

Reliance Industries has hived off its overseas oil and gas projects into a separate wholly-owned company based in Dubai and is eyeing a tie-up with ONGC Videsh to jointly bid for oil and gas opportunities abroad, reports Business Standard.

Reliance Exploration and Production DMCC has been formed with Mukesh Ambani as its chairman. The company's interests in a discovered oil block in Yemen and in an offshore exploration block in Oman, besides exploration projects in northern Iraq, East Timor and Columbia will be transferred to the new company.

The Dubai-based firm has been modelled on lines of ONGC Videsh, which is a fully owned overseas investment subsidiary of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC).

"It is keen on bidding together for major opportunities with OVL. OVL, which has presence in 15 countries and has well-known tie-ups like the one with Mittal Steel for overseas oil asset acquisitions, has earned itself a reputation as a serious player. Reliance is a conservative player and would rather like to share risks with OVL", according to sources.

Moreover, the company is looking at opportunities in Africa, Latin America and West Asia.

The Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries is keen on acquiring gas fields in the Central Asian region and West Asia.

Further, the company has signed a technical evaluation agreement with ANH (Columbia`s hydrocarbon regulator) and also entered into a cooperation agreement with Ecopetrol (national Oil Co of Columbia) for farm-in opportunities in that country.

Shares of the company closed lower by Rs 16.30, or 1.22%, at Rs 1,318.50. Total volume of shares traded at the BSE was 983,472. (4.49 pm, Friday).

Reliance goes on block buying spree

Lloyds List, 14 September 2007 

RELIANCE Industries claims to be at an advanced stage of negotiations to secure contracts for farm-in activities in two oil blocks in Peru, and is looking at opportunities in Africa, Latin America and West Asia, either through the consortium approach or on its own, writes Shirish Nadkarni.

If the Mukesh Ambani-led company successfully acquires interests in the two Peruvian blocks, the total number of its overseas assets will go up to 13.

Its earlier acquisitions have been two blocks in Iraq, three in Yemen, one in East Timor, two each in Oman and Columbia, and one in Australia.

The most recent acquisition was the WO6-05 exploration block in the Bonaparte Basin in Western Australia, its first block in the country. The block measures 5,760 sq kms and lies in water depths of between 100 m and 120 m. Australian authorities have issued four exploration permits to three other companies in the Bonaparte Basin in this round Total Australia (two permits), China National Offshore Oil Corporation Australia and Goldsborough Energy (one permit each).

In Yemen, Reliance's Block 9, in which it owns a 20% equity stake, started oil production in December 2005, with an initial rate of around 2,000 barrels of oil per day. Canada's Calvalley Petroleum is the operator of the block with 60% stake, while Hood Oil has the remaining 20%. The Indian outfit has also been awarded onshore exploration blocks 34 and 37 in Yemen, in partnership with local company Hood Oil. Blocks 34 and 37, each measuring 7,500 sq km and located on the border with Oman, were among the seven blocks offered by Yemen in its second licensing round.

Reliance has followed its success in Yemen by acquiring assets in Oman. Last year, the company acquired acreage in East Timor.

It has also initiated talks with state-owned Indian Oil Corporation to acquire assets abroad, particularly in South East Asia. Indications are that IOC is also interested in farm-in opportunities in Reliance's existing assets.

Reliance has also acquired a majority stake and management control in an East Africa-based oil retail distribution company, Gulf Africa Petroleum Corp. The acquisition was made through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Reliance Industries Middle East, a company registered in the United Arab Emirates.

Headquartered in Mauritius, GAPCO operates in the downstream petroleum sector. It was formed in 1992 to acquire the retail petroleum marketing assets of Esso in Tanzania, Uganda and Mauritius; and today owns and operates storage terminals in Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania), Mombassa (Kenya) and Kampala (Uganda). It has other depots in East and Central Africa, and runs over 250 outlets, covering the retail and industrial segments.

Reliance has described the acquisition as strategic, helping it achieve its 'global vision in the petroleum downstream sector'.

GAPCO's synergies with Reliance's Indian assets are apparent. One of the feathers in the Reliance domestic crown is its 660,000 bpd refinery at Jamnagar on the Gujarat coast. Another refinery with a capacity of 580,000 bpd is being established in the same region by subsidiary Reliance Petroleum. The GAPCO buy will help Reliance integrate the value chain, consisting of refining, shipping, trading, terminals and marketing through both retail and wholesale segments, and help establish a natural marketing link for its refinery products.

E. Timor: IOC, Oil India may partner Reliance Ind

Hindu Business Line, 31 December 2007. By Richa Mishra

New Delhi, Dec. 30 -- Decks have been cleared for two of India’s large oil sector companies, Indian Oil Corporation and Reliance Industries Ltd, to jointly undertake oil and gas exploration abroad.

IOC, along with Oil India Ltd, is now expected to join hands with RIL for exploration in the latter’s oil block in East Timor.

Both the State-owned companies have obtained approval from their respective Boards to acquire equity in RIL’s asset as farm-in partners.

The two companies will now work on a final agreement with RIL. Official sources told Business Line that “the IOC Board which met on Friday approved its participation in the project. OIL Board has already given its nod. The approval of the respective Boards was taken after the technical teams of IOC and OIL expressed satisfaction on the data made available by RIL.”

Stake count

Indications are that both IOC and OIL are looking at an equity stake of 12.5 per cent each in the project. RIL will hold a majority stake in the block and will be the operator of the area which is spread over 2,384 sq km.

In May 2006, RIL had won a block in East Timor. RIL had bid for two of the 11 offshore blocks tendered by East Timor, but could manage only one contract area. The company had bid for area ‘K’ and area ‘E’, but won only the former.

RIL has now signed an agreement to explore for oil and gas in East Timor and it will explore the offshore area in contract area ‘K’ that has proven reserves in the Australian North West Shelf and is adjacent to the Timor Sea. This region contains discoveries such as Bayu-Undan (commenced production in 2004) and Greater Sunrise.

Farm-in activity

The State-owned companies have been in talks with RIL for farm-in opportunities for them in the existing overseas assets of RIL.

A farm-in activity, which is very common among global oil and gas exploration companies, allows an entity to come in as a partner. As a farm-in partner, a company is not required to acquire the asset directly, but develop the property by taking participating interest in the block. The company also shares the risk involved in the exploration activity with the operator.

Currently, IOC has seven overseas assets (excluding the recent gas blocks acquired in Libya) through consortium approach.

IOC-OIL to hold stake in RIL's East Timor block

PTI, January 09, 2008

State-run firms Indian Oil Corp and Oil India Ltd will together take 25 per cent stake in Reliance Industries Ltd's East Timor oil and gas block.

Reliance Industries, which holds 100 per cent stake in the offshore block, is getting the state-run firms to share exploration risk. IOC and OIL, who will take 12.5 per cent stake each, will share past exploration cost in the Block 'K' in proportion to their equity stake, industry sources said.

OIL-IOC combine is also paying a small premium to Mukesh Ambani-run RIL for the farm-in opportunity. Boards of both IOC and OIL have approved the stake in the 2,384 square kilometer exploration acreage where Reliance will be the operator.

Reliance had in May 2006 won the offshore area 'K' in the East Timor bid round, where 11 offshore blocks were offered. Reliance bid for areas 'K' and 'E' but won only the former.

OIL-IOC combine last month won four blocks in Libya. The combine forged a 50:50 partnership with Algerian national oil firm Sonatrach to win areas 95 (one block) and 96 (three blocks) located in the western Ghadames basin in Libya. The combine had in 2005 won 7,087 sq km Block 86 and 2,710 sq km Block 102/4 in Libya. Both hold 50 per cent stake in each and OIL is operator for both.

Prior to East Timor, the combine had oil acreage in five countries - Farsi Block in Iran, exploration blocks in Libya, Block Shakthi in Gabon, OPL-205 in Nigeria and Blocks 82 and 83 in Yemen.

Reliance has nine properties in five countries - Blocks 9, 34 and 37 in Yemen, Blocks 18 and 41 in Oman, Block 'K' in East Timor, Block WA-405-P in Australia and Blocks Rovi and Sarta in Kurdistan region of Iraq.

IOC, Oil India acquire stake in Reliance’s East Timor block

Finding new ground
IOC, OIL have made a financial commitment of $27 million
Cos will now approach East Timor Govt for approval

Business Line, (from THE HINDU group of publications),  8 June 2008. By Richa Mishra

New Delhi, June 7 -- Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), along with Oil India Ltd (OIL), has reached an understanding with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) to acquire stake in the latter’s offshore oil block in East Timor. Sources told Business Line that an agreement was inked between the State-owned companies and RIL this week.

Both IOC and OIL will acquire an equity stake of 12.5 per cent each in the project. RIL will hold a majority stake in the block and will be the operator of the area spread over 2,384 sq km. Sources said that IOC and OIL have made a financial commitment of $27 million. The entities are now going to approach the East Timor Government for approval.

Though the consortium of IOC and OIL has been working together in acquiring hydrocarbon assets abroad, this is the first time that the two have joined hands with RIL. Under phase-I, in three years of the exploration activity the companies are going to undertake three-dimensional seismic surveys and drill one exploratory well.

Both IOC and OIL had taken their respective Boards’ approval to acquire equity in RIL’s asset as farm-in partners in 2007-08 fiscal. The approval of the respective Boards was taken after the technical teams of IOC and OIL expressed satisfaction on the data made available by RIL.

In May 2006, RIL had won a block in East Timor ­ area ‘K’ ­ after bidding for two of the 11 offshore blocks tendered. RIL has now signed an agreement to explore for oil and gas in East Timor and will explore the offshore area in contract area ‘K’ that has proven reserves in the Australian North West Shelf and is adjacent to the Timor sea.

A common feature among the global oil and gas exploration companies is a farm-in activity, which allows an entity to come in as a partner. As a farm-in partner, a company is not required to acquire the asset directly, but develop the property by taking participating interest in the block. The company also shares the risk involved in the exploration activity with the operator.

As to how the entities are going to benefit from it, sources said, it is a combined effort, and each will bring to the table its expertise.

Reliance seeks deep-water rig

Emirates Business 24-7, 11 February 2010. By Piyush Pandey

Dubai-based Reliance Exploration and Production DMCC, a subsidiary of the India's Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), is seeking a deep-water drilling rig for prospecting in Timor-Leste.

The company has called for an expression of interest (EoI) under international competitive bidding (ICB) for deep-water rig, drilling services, equipment, material and personnel.

"The company wants to drill in offshore block-K in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste with target depth of 6,000 metres," a senior company official told Emirates Business while requesting anonymity as he is not an authorised spokesperson of the company.

"After tasting success in domestic waters, it's a logical move for Reliance to consolidate its position in international exploration," Sandeep Randery, Energy Analyst, at Mumbai-based Brics Securities told this paper.

In 2007, RIL had transferred its international oil assets to the Dubai-headquartered REP DMCC for aggressive participation in international bidding rounds. REP DMCC now holds interest in oil blocks in Yemen, Oman, Kurdistan, East Timor, Peru and Columbia. It recently rationalised its portfolio structure in the Middle East by offering offloading 30 and 25 per cent stakes in offshore block 18 and 41, respectively, in favour of Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production.

Meanwhile, the company has also sought EoI through ICB route for development of its prolific D-6 block in the Krishna Godavari (KG) basin. The contract will be awarded for conceptual studies and front-end engineering design for deep water filed development. Scope of work includes geo-technical and geo-physical surveys.

RIL suspends drilling with Transocean equipment

The Economic Times (India) 26 May, 2010

NEW DELHI: Reliance Industries has suspended drilling of a well in KG Basin using a rig hired from Transocean, whose drillship had last month exploded causing a huge oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company's junior partner in block KG-DWN-2003/1 (or D3) Hardy Oil and Gas said there were "unresolved mechanical issues" with Transocean's rig 'Deepwater Expedition' which was drilling an exploration well on the block.

Reliance Industries spokesperson offered no comments on the drilling suspension.

US-based Transocean's Deepwater Horizon had exploded on April 20, killing 11 people and causing a leakage in a well leased by BP.

A US Congressional committee has been told that the blow out preventer (BOP) on Deepwater Horizon had a leak in its crucial hydraulic system.

"The KGV-D3-W1 exploration well (in D3 block) has been temporarily suspended due to unresolved mechanical issues associated with the blow out preventer (BOP) of the Deepwater Expedition drilling rig," Hardy Oil said in a statement.

The KGV-D3-W1 exploration well commenced drilling on April 2 using the Transocean rig Deepwater Expedition. The well was drilled to a depth of 2,608 meters.

"Subsequently, the operator (RIL) spent a considerable amount of time attempting to resolve a problem with the control system of the drilling rig's BOP.

"The operator has been unable to resolve the issue to its satisfaction and, mindful of safety and operational matters, has taken the decision to suspend the well," Hardy said.

RIL has 90 per cent interest in D3 and Hardy the remaining 10 per cent. It has made two significant gas discoveries (Dhirubhai 39 and 41) in the block till date.

The well, Hardy, said, will be re-drilled using an alternative deepwater rig.

It, however, did not say what would be the fate of Deepwater Expedition drilling rig.

Hardy Chief Executive Officer Yogeshwar Sharma said: "In the interest of safety, the D3 joint venture has taken the considered decision to suspend the W1 well. The operator (RIL) is working towards mobilising an alternative rig at the earliest opportunity."

The KGV-D3-W1 exploration well was located in water depth of 1,653 meters. The target depth of the well, which aims to explore the hydrocarbon potential of Mio-Pliocene sands, was 3,514 meters.

The Block D3 is located in the Krishna Godavari Basin on the East Coast of India and covers an area of approximately 3,288 square kilometers.

Timor-Leste on course for pair

Upstream Online, 16 July 2010. By Russell Searancke

Italian oil player Eni and Indian energy company Reliance Industries are both pushing ahead with their plans to drill ultra-deepwater wildcats off Timor-Leste in the coming months.

Eni said in its environmental impact statement to the Timor-Leste authorities that it plans to drill the Cova 1 wildcat in September, slightly later than previous plans.

The company confirmed it will use the dynamically-positioned drillship Saipem 10,000 for a 45-day campaign to drill Cova 1 in water depths of 1930 metres. The support vessel Sea Witch will be working alongside the Saipem 10,000 at all times during drilling. It will carry out its services from Darwin in northern Australia, but helicopter back-up will come via the Timor-Leste capital Dili.

Eni holds an 80% operating stake in Block C, where its joint venture partners are Korea Gas Corporation with 10% and Portugal’s Galp on 10%.

The permit is located in the northern Bonaparte basin in Timor-Leste’s sovereign waters, about 100 kilometres from the south coast of the country.

No wells have been drilled in the block, but Eni has acquired extensive amounts of 2D and 3D seismic data over all five of its exploration permits in Timor-Leste — Blocks A, B, C, E and H.

“The overarching driver for drilling the Cova 1 well is the search for oil to satisfy global demand for hydrocarbon products,” said Eni. “A 3D seismic survey conducted in June 2007 indicated the presence of potential hydrocarbon prospects (in Block C). Drilling is the only way more definitive data can be obtained on the presence of hydrocarbons and the economic viability of their production. Further justification for drilling the Cova 1 well is the benefits the development of Timor-Leste’s oil and gas resources can bring to the people of Timor-Leste.”

Meanwhile, Reliance Industries is also pursuing its pledged commitment to drill one exploration well in Block K.

The company has just submitted its environmental impact assessment, but the document is not publicly available yet. However, non-governmental organisation La’o Hamutuk has posted a submission on its website, and urged the government not to approve the document. “We believe that this document does not demonstrate the capacity, the intention or the specific actions which are necessary to ensure that this test drilling, 2800 meters deep under 1246 metres of seawater, will be managed in a way which does not unduly endanger Timor-Leste,” said La’o Hamutuk. The organisation urged the authorities “to reject this plan, and to order Reliance to rewrite it, correcting the deficiencies and filling in the gaps” that La’o Hamutuk identified.

La’o Hamutuk also accused Reliance of creating a conflict of interest by hiring the brother of a former Reliance employee, who is currently employed by Timor-Leste’s National Petroleum Authority (ANP), to prepare Reliance’s environmental impact assessment.

Sources said Reliance hopes to spud its Block K commitment well in November using Transocean drillship Deepwater Frontier, which it will mobilise from India. Reliance had previously planned to shift the semi-submersible Blackford Dolphin from India to Timor-Leste, but has opted instead for the Deepwater Frontier.

Reliance has previously acquired 2D and 3D seismic in its 2384 square-kilometre Block K.

The Indian company owns a 75% operating stake in the permit, where its co-venturers are Indian Oil Corporation with 12.5% and Oil India Ltd on 12.5%.

Water depths in Block K are understood to be between 1000 and 2000 metres.

The two wells drilled by Eni and Reliance in Timor-Leste’s waters have the potential to be very significant for future upstream industry interest and for Timor-Leste’s fragile economy.


The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)
Institutu Timor-Leste ba Analiza no Monitor ba Dezenvolvimentu
Rua dos Martires da Patria, Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste
P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel: +670-3321040 or +670-77234330
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