Atlas has planned to drill 100 Albany Shale wells

Within days of losing its $14.5-billion takeover bid for global petrochemicals major LyondellBasell, energy giant RIL is believed to have begun talks for a venture with the U.S. major Atlas Energy for jointly developing the latter's gas fields there.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries is said to be eyeing a joint venture with Nasdaq-listed Atlas Energy for developing the U.S. company's Marcellus Shale gas operations, sources said.

When contacted, an RIL spokesperson declined to comment on the matter and queries sent to Atlas Energy were unanswered.

Stock up 4 per cent

RIL shares on Tuesday rose nearly 4 per cent on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while Atlas Energy stock was trading nearly 2 per cent higher in the early morning trade at Nasdaq.

Atlas recently started search for partners for its gas operations in the Marcellus Shale area, located in eastern part of the U.S.

Late last month, Atlas Energy had said it plans to drill “approximately 100 New Albany Shale wells through its drilling partnership programmes in 2010.”

RIL, which had in November last year disclosed its preliminary bid for LyondellBasell and later revised the bid twice, has been silent on its next move ever since the global major announced that its own restructuring plan to move out of bankruptcy was better than the takeover offer from the Indian firm.

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