ONGC’s giant gas field in Mozambique holds 45 to 70 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable reserves, 28 per cent more than the minimum estimated resources when it invested $ 4.12 billion.

ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), bought a 16 per cent stake in the offshore Rovuma Area 1 over the past one year.

Oil India Ltd has a 4 per cent stake and a unit of BPCL owns 10 per cent in the block.

“Appraisal and exploration activities carried out in the block increased the estimated recoverable natural gas resources to a range of 45 to 70 plus tcf, up from the previous range of 35 to 65 tcf,” block operator Anadarko Petroleum Corp said in its 2014 capital programme and guidance statement.

OVL teamed up with Oil India last year to buy Videocon’s 10 per cent in Rovuma Area 1 for $ 2.475 billion. It later bought another 10 per cent stake in the field on its own from Anadarko for $ 2.64 billion.

The 10 per cent stake that belonged to Videocon was split in a 60:40 ratio and the total payout for OVL for the back-to-back acquisitions was $ 4.125 billion.

An estimated $ 18.4 billion will be required to bring the first set of discoveries to production and convert the gas into liquid (liquefied natural gas or LNG) for ease of shipping to consuming nations such as India.

The Area-1 consortium’s 2014 programme is focused on advancing the development towards first LNG cargo in 2018, Anadarko said.

The project, with a capacity to produce 20 million tonnes of LNG annually, would be the world’s largest LNG export site after ExxonMobil-run Ras Laffan in Qatar.

So far, seven gas fields have been discovered in the block. Of these, three fields - Lagosta, Windjammer and Barquentine (collectively called the Prosperidade field) - extend into the adjacent Block Area 4 where Italy’s ENI with a 70 per stake is the operator.

The others - Atum, Golfinho and a small field Tubarao, are independent fields lying fully in Block Area 1.

Anadarko and ENI have signed an agreement to jointly develop the common fields (Prosperidade) between Block Area 1 and Block Area 4 in the first instance and monetise them through construction of four LNG trains or plants with a capacity of 5 million tonnes per annum each, sources said.

To feed the LNG trains, the gas required would be 24 tcf, which will come equally from Block Area 1 and Area 4.

Woodlands, Texas-based energy-exploration company Anadarko holds 26.5 per cent after the deal with OVL. Other partners in Area 1 include Mitsui with a 20 per cent stake, ENH (15 per cent) and PTTEP (8.5 per cent).

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