Mumbai, March 12: Reliance Industries Ltd today acquired exploration rights to one of the largest deep water blocks in the Sultanate of Oman.
The exploration and production sharing agreement for Block-18 was signed in Muscat today by Oman minister of oil and gas Mohammed al Rumhy and RIL president and CEO of petroleum business P. M. S. Prasad, the company said in a release.
Block-18 is off the Batinah coast in the Gulf of Oman and spreads over 18,000 sq km (shallow and deepwater up to 1,000 m water depth) and RIL would be the operator of the block with 100 per cent working interest.
In addition to Oman, Reliance has a 25 per cent stake in an exploration block in Yemen, which has discovered oil.
'By establishing presence in Oman and with a number of overseas projects on the anvil, RIL is active across the petroleum value chain in upstream, refining and retailing,' the release said.
This agreement takes RIL and India a step closer to securing energy supply for the country, the statement said.
Referring to the central government's common minimum programme of securing India's energy supply, an RIL official said, the major objective is to augment the energy security of India.
Experts say that the energy demand in India, Asia's fourth-largest economy, is growing rapidly, powered by strong economic growth. Estimates say the current gas demand is around 150 million cubic metres a day and it could more than double by 2011-12.
Oman, Yemen and other West Asian countries have strategic advantages for Indian oil companies, with strong and friendly diplomatic ties, existing commercial interests and a significant Indian Diaspora.
The central government has been encouraging Indian companies to scout for properties abroad that could secure the country's energy security and reports of Chinese and Indian companies aggressively bidding for oil and gas properties across the world have drawn the attention of the developed world.
The country is setting up terminals of 25 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year compared with 5 million tonnes now. Last fiscal, RIL grossed a turnover of Rs 74,418 crore, earned a cash profit of Rs 9,197 crore and a net profit worth Rs 5,160 crore.