IOC to spend Rs 32,500 crore on oil exploration, production

GN Bureau | October 14, 2015


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Indian Oil Corporation is planning to spend about $5 billion (nearly Rs 32,500 crore) to expand its exploration and production business.

More than half the amount is likely to be earmarked for acquisition of new assets. This is in line with other oil major ONGC. State-run ONGC Videsh recently acquired 15 per cent stake in a Russian oil field. And now Indian Oil hopes to acquire some assets overseas which are increasingly becoming available in the wake of a global crude oil crash.

The market could be ripe for buying as decline in crude oil prices have forced many oil firms redraw plans and shelve projects. But the energy-starved economies like India have been encouraging their firms to go out and buy equity, mainly in producing fields with an aim to aid the country's energy security.

The company, which is in talks with potential strategic partners internationally, will prefer a producing or a near-producing asset since this eliminates much risk.

IOC is a late entrant and still a peripheral player in the exploration and production business. It mostly has a lower minority stake in the 10 blocks at home and seven overseas. Just three of its projects are producing today. Its biggest overseas purchase happened last year when it bought a 10 per cent stake in the Pacific Northwest LNG, an integrated upstream and liquefied natural gas project in Canada in which it committed an investment of about $4 billion.

The company also plans to spend about Rs 15,000 crore to upgrade all its refineries by 2022 so as to produce fuels compliant with Euro-VI emission norms. IOC also plans to invest Rs 50,000 crore in expanding capacity at its existing refineries in the next five-seven years. Another Rs 30,000 crore will be spent on setting up new petrochemicals plants by 2022.

Meanwhile, chairman B Ashok on Tuesday said it will shortly commission the 15 million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA) refinery at Paradip.

Apart from Rs 35,000 crore investment in the refinery, the IOCL has proposed to invest another 40,000 crore in Paradip for development of LPG import terminal, marketing terminal, south jetty and other associated facilities, sources said.

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