BUSINESS

Reliance strikes gold

MUMBAI OCT. 31. Reliance Industries has discovered natural gas in the very first well it drilled in the deep-water block D6 in the Krishna-Godavari basin off the Andhra Pradesh coast.

This is considered the country's biggest natural gas discovery in nearly three decades and one of the largest gas discoveries in the world this year and Reliance has achieved a 100 per cent success rate in all the five exploration wells drilled so far in the block.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director, RIL, while addressing shareholders at the company's 28th annual general meeting here today said, "This is the first ever discovery by an Indian private sector company. The in-place volume of natural gas is in excess of seven trillion cubic feet, equivalent to about 1.2 billion barrels or 165 million tonnes of crude oil".

In memory of late Dhirubhai Ambani, founder chairman of RIL, the three discovered fields would be named Dhirubhai 1, 2 and 3.

RIL was awarded two deepwater blocks in the Krishna-Godavari basin under the first offering of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) in consortium with Niko Resources of Canada. Based on the recoverable reserves of over five trillion cubic feet, the gas availability to consumers would increase by almost 60 per cent.

The company continues to explore this block and expects to see further upside. The success follows an aggressive schedule of 20 months from the receipt of the exploration licence.

"We would strive to deliver about 40 million standard cubic metres of gas a day in three to four years, after obtaining the requisite Government approvals for development," said Mr. Ambani. Mr. Ambani said RIL had commenced its exploration programme straight in the deep waters and drilled its first well at a depth of 2,100 feet.

"We are now drilling in water depths of around 6,000 feet, which is the deepest ever achieved in India," said Mr. Ambani.

Reliance is today the largest private sector exploration and production company with over 1.77 lakh sq. km of exploration acreage in 23 offshore and onshore blocks. This is expected to go up by a further one lakh sq. km with successes expected in the third round of bidding under the New Exploration and Licensing policy of the government.

With just under 2,000 sq. km of the total acreage explored so far, the company is confident of a significant potential in the upstream and gas business and will be making significant investments in these exploration and production blocks over the next two years.

Q2 net at Rs. 1,000 cr.

During the half year ended September 30, 2002, the company completed the amalgamation of RPL with it and also completed the acquisition of IPCL, India's second largest petrochemicals company.

RIL has announced a significant rise of 25.09 per cent in its net profit at Rs. 1,002 crores during the second quarter ended September 2002 against Rs. 801 crores in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Net turnover for the period was up 7.4 per cent at Rs. 11,519 crores (Rs. 10,724 crores). Other income, however, was down 21.5 per cent at Rs. 204 crores (Rs. 260 crores).

For the half-year ended September 2002, the net profit was up 25 per cent at Rs. 1,920 crores against Rs. 1,536 crores. The gross turnover was marginally up at Rs. 31,782 crores (Rs. 29,987 crores).

The company's production of oil and gas and petrochemicals, including toll conversion, increased to six million tonnes during the first half of 2002-03 against 5.74 million tonnes in the same period last year.

Exports, including deemed exports increased by 8 per cent to Rs. 5,557 crores (Rs. 5,150 crores).

The company has revalued plant and machinery at Patalganga and Naroda in 1997-98 and consequently, there has been an additional depreciation charge of Rs. 58 crores for the half year ended September 2002. An equivalent amount has been withdrawn from the general reserves.

RIL's paid-up capital has increased to Rs. 1.39 crores on allotment of shares on October 23 to the shareholders of the erstwhile Reliance Petroleum following its merger with RIL.

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