State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has lost an oilfield in Algeria to a consortium led by a Chinese oil firm.

ONGC teamed up with Turkish Petroleum Corp (TPAO) and UAE’s Dana Gas to bid for the hotly contested Hassi Bir Rekaiz acreage in Algeria’s latest licensing round, sources said. It, however, lost the prized property to a consortium of China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) and Thailand’s PTTEP. Spain’s Cepsa and Russia’s Gazprom were the other bidders for the acreage. Hassi Bir Rekaiz in the Berkine Basin was relinquished by Australia’s BHP Billiton after a 2005 award. Algeria awarded three permits in its bid round for ten exploration areas that closed on December 22, they said. Last month, ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of ONGC, had lost a bid for the Halfaya oilfield in Iraq’s second post-war bid round, to a consortium of China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), Petronas Cargali Sdn Bhd of Malaysia and France’s Total SA, sources said.

OVL had teamed up with Oil India and TPAO to bid $1.76 a barrel fee for boosting output from Halfaya field to 5.50 lakh barrels a day (bpd). CNPC-led group offered to boost production to 5.35 lakh bpd from 3,000 bpd at a cost of $1.40 a barrel. Sources said the win over ONGC marks CNOOC’s entry into Algeria, where fellow state giants CNPC and Sinopec have already made upstream and downstream forays.

France’s Total with Portugal’s Partex walked away with potentially the biggest prize in the tender, the southerly Ahnet field.

Besides, a consortium of Spanish Repsol YPF with GDF Suez and Italian Enel signed up to explore the South East Illizi Basin perimeter held earlier by BP.

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