Mumbai, Sept. 23: Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) is looking to emerge as a major player in exploration & production (E&P) over the next five years. The oil marketing PSU, which has participating interest in around 28 blocks, wants to evolve into an operator as well.
The PSU has lined up an investment of around Rs 10,000 crore in the Mozambique block over the next four to five years, said R. K. Singh, chairman and managing director.
BPCL has around a 10 per cent stake in the Mozambique block.
The PSU carries out its exploration and production through Bharat Petro Resources Ltd (BPRL).
The Mozambique block, located in the Rovuma Basin area, is owned by a consortium of six players with Videocon Industries being one of the partners.
Earlier this year, Anadarko Petroleum Corp of the US, the operator of the block, had said recoverable natural gas from Offshore Area 1 was estimated at 30-60 trillion cubic feet (tcf).
Singh pointed out that BPCL was entitled to a share of around 6 tcf and part of it would be bought to India.
S. Varadaranan, finance director of BPCL, said he did not see any difficulty in arranging the funds. The fund-raising will be done through BRPL to keep it off BPCL’s balance sheet.
The company is in discussions with domestic banks to part-fund the activities.
“Over the next four to five years, the complexion of the company (BPCL) will change. We will become a major player in the E&P field,” Singh said, adding that the company will initially like to focus on gaining experience in exploration and later emerge as an operator.
BPCL is now an operator in a couple of domestic blocks.
“We have begun in a small way and the main target is to be a full fledged E&P company with operatorship as well. At present, we are largelygoing as part of a consortium as the idea is to develop a team, evaluate the blocks and take the right decision with respect to investment,” Singh said.
BPCL has said the move to cap subsidised cooking gas will help to curb black marketing to a considerable extent.
“I think it is a brilliant move. Black marketing takes place primarily because of the big (price) difference in domestic and commercial LPG. By restricting the supply to six subsidised cylinders per family per year, there will not be enough cylinders available in the system for diversion,” Singh said.
Singh, however, added that the proliferation of LPG use in commercial activities needed to be kept under scanner.